The World's Fastest Indian

 
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Written by:Roger Donaldson
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Lawford, Diane Ladd, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Rodriguez, Patrick Flueger
Released: April 6, 2006
Grade: A

The World’s Fastest Indian is one the most likeable feel-good movies in recent memory.  It’s a film you can recommend to any person of any age.  I would be very surprised if you didn’t walk out with a beaming smile on your face.

Writer-director Roger Donaldson (Cocktail, Thirteen Days) has brought to the screen the true life story of Burt Munro.  We pick up Burt’s story at his home in Invercargill, New Zealand in the year 1967.  The 60-something year old Burt always had a love for motorcycles and for speed.  He had purchased a 1920 Indian motorcycle many years ago and it has been a work in progress for him ever since.  Riding on the nearby sandy beach, Burt’s objectives was to always to go faster.

Thinking his bike could be improved no further, Burt decided it was time to fulfil a lifelong dream.  He mortgaged his house and used the money to travel to Salt Lake in Utah, home to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Each year, the Flats hosted an event known as Speed Week, where the fastest contraptions from around the country competed to set new world land-speed records.

The film follows Burt’s journey from New Zealand to Salt Lake and an assortment of people he meets along the way.  He may be showing his age but Burt’s an intelligent individual whose enthusiasm rubs off on everyone he meets.  He will go through much adversity trying to make it to the competition but with the help of complete strangers, he finds a way.  It gives you plenty of faith in the human race and the film reminds me very much of The Straight Story (about an elderly man who drove his ride-on mower across America).

Anthony Hopkins is utterly brilliant in the leading role.  He may be one of the greatest actors of the modern era but even I was surprised at how well he delivers a Kiwi accent.  His mannerisms and demeanour are also ideal.  Hopkins is the only feature member of the cast but you will spot a few other recognisable actors along the way (such as Bruce Greenwood and Diane Ladd) who make memorable cameos.

The film has received a very low key release in these jam-packed school holidays so make sure you don’t miss the chance to see it.  I’m still feeling good from it.