Cake ride 

click to enlarge Anthony Hopkins, as Burt Munro, retools his 1920 - Indian.
  • Anthony Hopkins, as Burt Munro, retools his 1920 Indian.

*The World's Fastest Indian (PG-13)

Anthony Hopkins, as a randy, smart-mouthed old New Zealander determined to break the world's land speed record on his 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle, is as charming and heartwarming as a weekend in a cozy bed and breakfast. You'll walk away feeling as if you've had a nice piece of cake not too sweet, with a hint of spice, filling but not overly so.

This feel-good flick is based on the true story of Burt Munro who, in his late 60s, took his beloved antique bike to the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah and gunned it to 201 mph, setting a record that still stands today for a vehicle of its type.

Hopkins' Burt is a daredevil of a different sort. He doesn't put much stock in the fact that he could die of a heart attack at any moment, or that a crash on the desert floor could rip his head off. He operates on the premise that if you wonder too long about the things you haven't done, you might just run out of time, so get your ass in gear. His bike is held together with old door hinges and plugged with corks from discarded brandy bottles.

Burt lives in a shed in a tiny New Zealand town where he beds down at night among his tools, and occasionally with one of the town ladies. (Hence the PG-13 rating; God forbid our children should know that older people actually enjoy physical companionship, or see a bare shoulder older than 25.)

He pees on his lemon tree to fertilize it and torches his gasoline-soaked lawn instead of mowing it, driving his neighbors to distraction, except for Tommy (Aaron Murphy), the boy next door, who hangs on Burt's every word.

The movie is part road trip: Burt's arrival in Los Angeles and trek to Utah, during which he meets other eccentrics who illustrate Roger Donaldson's contention that the world is full of good-hearted people. When he arrives at his destination, he's told he can't race because he didn't pre-register, but a fellow competitor takes up his cause. When he needs a shower, another good-hearted soul puts him up in a hotel room.

By the time he finally gets to run a time trial, Burt's the darling of the track, surrounded by a pack of fellow dreamers rooting him on. The euphoric climax of the film is tempered by Burt's return to New Zealand and a quiet reunion with Tommy.

It's not hard to guess how this film might have turned out with a lesser actor than Hopkins in the driver's seat. His measured performance renders Burt as real and solid as a tree stump. Though he looks and acts older than a man in his 60s, we're as charmed by his cloudy blue eyes and his kind sense of humor as all those he meets on his quest.

The World's Fastest Indian teeters on the edge of predictability and smarminess, but is pulled back on track again and again by Burt's smart mouth and unique perspective. It's a little longer than it needs to be, but will make a good afternoon outing for a family wanting to see a decent race flick with a good heart.

Kathryn Eastburn

Speaking of Not Rated


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Reviews

Readers also liked…

  • Childhood lost

    Trade of Innocents producer Laurie Bolthouse on sex trafficking and the 'weight of silence'
    • Mar 4, 2015

Popular Events

  • Apparition Hill @ Stargazers

    • Wed., Sept. 28, 7 p.m. $10
  • Reel Rock Film Tour @ Kathryn Mohrman Theatre in CC's Armstrong Hall

    • Wed., Sept. 28, 7 p.m. $18
    • Buy Tickets
  • Now is the Time: Healthcare for Everyone @ Library 21c

    • Wed., Sept. 28, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Beetlejuice @ Ivywild School

    • Mon., Oct. 3, 7-9 p.m. Free
  • Best of Enemies @ Tim Gill Center for Public Media

    • Thu., Oct. 6, 7-9 p.m. Free

More by Kathryn Eastburn

  • 'Did you ever think about killing us?'

    An excerpt from Simon Says
    • Dec 27, 2007
  • Implosion

    Nora Gallagher's debut examines the dark genesis of the atom bomb and human creativity
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • Northern light

    Plate's international cuisine beckons diners to Briargate
    • Jan 18, 2007
  • More »

All content © Copyright 2016, The Colorado Springs Independent   |   Website powered by Foundation