Sunday, January 11, 2009

So it's been a while since I've posted anything up here... approximately a month I suppose. I'm of the class of writers that can't compose without something of substance in mind. I've been down a lot lately, to be honest, which has hampered my motivation a great deal for the latter part of the last month and the early onset of this current month and new year. But like I said to my good friend Joel earlier today, we've still got 355 days for this year to not suck as bad as the last. In truth the reason that I'm writing is to share with you all what could be my favorite movie of 2006, even though I just finished watching it for the first time in 2009.

The World's Fastest Indian
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Written/Directed by Roger Donaldson

Rarely do I purposely elect to watch uplifting cinema, and even stranger still is viewing those motion pictures rare enough to not be rated for a "restricted" audience. The World's Fastest Indian falls under both headings, and stars Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro, a real man from Invercargill New Zealand who late in his sixties pursued his dream of racing his customized 1920 Indian motorcycle (a bike he had owned since it was new) at the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah during Speed Week in 1967.
Burt Munro on his modified Indian

Once the journey is under way, the film becomes a road movie, and one of the best of it's kind at that. I judge a road movie by the distance traveled as well as the encounters along the way, and in these respects Burt Munro's story is easily the winner given that the early stage of the trip was sailing from New Zealand to Los Angeles. Befriending several folks along the way to Utah, a portion of the movie that helps to further develop his character as open and gracious, and shed light on the colorful Americans that slipped into his life. He finally makes it to Bonneville where it looks like they intend to turn him right around and send him back over the ocean, but his resolve and determination eventually sway the tide in his favor.

It's sappy, and I can imagine some folks would imagine Hopkins' performance long-winded and blustery to boot, but the character he portrays, while larger than life, is also a New Zealander, who happen to be an incredibly modest type of people, even though still incredibly outspoken. He never comes off as a caricature, and instills the most endearing and masculine optimism in a role that I've seen in cinema since Christian Bale's role as Dieter Dengler in Rescue Dawn, another favorite of mine from 2006. Hopkins easily nails the tenacity of Mr. Munro, as well as the sheer will to see a dream to fruition. Deftly allowing us to identify the modesty of his character, in giving credit to the motorcycle when obtaining the landspeed record for streamlined motorcycles under 1000 CC's at just over 201 mph rather than bask in any congratulatory nonsense himself...he was just happy to be there.
Sir Anthony Hopkins as Burt Munro

What gets me about this movie is that we have for all intents and purposes an action hero well into his sixties and unarguably well past the prime of his life, but an action hero nonetheless. He longs for going fast and tinkers in a shed with a classic motorcycle, and on top of all that, is a humble everyman that has stuck to the same geographic locale for the full duration of his life thus far. Not only that, but the tenacity of the character is overwhelming and heart-warming as well, to consider what people are capable of when they have a dream in mind. A message that regardless of your age and how lofty your goal may be, it's worthless unless you do your all to follow through. As Burt Munro states in both the film (played by Hopkins) and in the documentary (as himself) that is included as a special feature on the disc, "You can live more in 5 minutes on that bike than some people do in a lifetime". It's a motivational film that calls for us to find that thing we love or that dream we harbor and see it come to life, otherwise we're simply betraying ourselves in becoming dormant and boring. I can only hope I have as much life in me when I hit that age as that man did, let alone the same amount of inspiration for those that know me. There's a huge difference between waking up each day and truly living, and this is a movie that's not afraid to show us that it's never really too late.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a comment about your profile, yah you do sound fucking awesome, but you have a typo on the word like (you have it as liek).

Thats about it. Lisa