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Worth A Look: 32.79%
Just Average: 11.48%
Pretty Crappy: 11.48%
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4 reviews, 37 user ratings

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World's Fastest Indian, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"2 Fast, 2 Crochety"
2 stars

No, Anthony Hopkins doesn’t play the title role in “The World’s Fastest Indian”–he merely spends his time mounting and riding it instead.

Before you get a picture in your mind of the grisliest love scenes captured on film since Hopkins went hot and heavy with Nicole Kidman in “The Human Stain,” I should point out that the “Indian” in question is a 1920 V-10 Scout motorcycle and Hopkins plays Burt Munro, an adorably grumpy New Zealand retiree (when a neighbor asks him to do something about his overgrown lawn, he burns the grass instead of mowing it) who is fixing it up in order to break the world’s land-speed record at the annual time trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats. His neighbors raise the money for his trip–partially to help him achieve his and, presumably, partially to get him out of their hair for a while–and he travels to America and begins a long and winding road trip to his destination.

You can pretty much guess the rest. He meets any number of colorful people–including a transvestite motel clerk and a friendly woman (Diane Ladd) who takes this total stranger into her bed five minutes after meeting him (leaving us to wonder if he is going to mention this particular detail to his sweetheart back home)–who are inexplicably charmed by his manner and he gets into any number or situations that are resolved by explaining in excruciating detail about his dream. When he arrives, he is shocked–shocked!–to learn that the mean fuddy-duddies in charge of the tournament won’t let him run his bike because he didn’t bother to trifle with silly formalities like registration, an entrance fee or any safety equipment. However, if you think he is going to let that stop him, you clearly haven’t seen enough movies about the triumph of the human spirit and such.

“The World’s Fastest Indian” is nicely made–director Roger Donaldson (who previously worked with Hopkins on a not-bad version of “Mutiny on the Bounty” two decades ago) has a good eye for mid-1960's period detail and the racing footage at the end is pretty nifty–but the whole thing quickly becomes unbearable because the central character is portrayed as so relentlessly charming and poignant–nearly every scene has him delivering a noble speech with extra-noble music playing on the soundtrack–that even the most forgiving of viewers will quickly get sick of him. Matters aren’t helped much by Hopkins’s scenery-chewing performance as the 2 fast, 2 furious and 2 crochety Munson–he comes off as such a blowhard throughout that you relish the moments when he has his riding helmet on since they are the only scenes when you can be pretty much assured that he will finally be quiet.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12829&reviewer=389
originally posted: 02/02/06 23:34:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/29/13 Monday Morning No guns, car chases, zombies - just one of the finest feelgood films in a while. 4 stars
8/29/07 chienne Sir Tony is the only foreign actor to peg an Aussie accent tho he's sposed to be Kiwi 5 stars
8/14/07 Juliak FANTASTIC movie!! impossible to not like it!!! 5 stars
2/23/07 chienne I saw this on a big screen by DVD - loved it. The best affected Kiwi accented ever. Bravo 4 stars
11/03/06 Mike J. Swa it and thought it was inspiring!! Wife loved it as well!! 5 stars
9/18/06 Captain Craig A really fine flick..especially considering what we are usually forced to view. 4 stars
9/07/06 AnnieG A story about one of the greatest charmers to ever live! 5 stars
8/22/06 Jan Pedersen A delightful, uplifting story that's true too. Hopkins reminded me of my dad. 5 stars
8/13/06 Phil M. Aficionado I liked it better than I expected, as I usually detest films "based on" a real situation 4 stars
7/24/06 pin The Straight Story with a motorcycle. Hopkins is spot-on. 5 stars
5/27/06 brett palmer Fantastic movie .have watched 3 times. 5 stars
5/09/06 Leroy Clow the best movie I've seen in a long time 5 stars
4/26/06 Wayne nostalgic, heart-warming, wonderful!! 5 stars
4/23/06 alien assassin let's have more films like this !!! 5 stars
4/18/06 Bruce Wonderful feel good sensitive, great ending 5 stars
4/06/06 Helen Bradley Great photography very very slow paced 3 stars
3/06/06 Greg Ursic The speed trial sequences were riveting. 4 stars
2/27/06 mwildema Very fun viewing. 5 stars
2/18/06 steven hopkins excellent; race footage thrilling 4 stars
2/09/06 Norm Levin Unless you have a morbid fear of aging, speed and humanity, this is a great film 5 stars
12/14/05 dave cole great movie - authentic main figure 5 stars
11/24/05 Tower Sweet and Heartwarming without being too mushy 5 stars
11/07/05 Greg Duncraft A Movie that captures the Kiwi spirit 5 stars
10/27/05 Kevin barker A kiwi classic? Hopkins portrays the male NZ psyche with aplomb. Excellent movie. 5 stars
10/17/05 Grant McL. McLachlan It is obvious that Roger Donaldson has been thinking about this film for ages. Perfection! 5 stars
10/16/05 Michael Great movie, enjoyed it greatly 5 stars
10/15/05 DJG Good little film 4 stars
10/15/05 Leo Brown Great, still room in the world for characters 5 stars
10/14/05 Rebecca A imspirational, well-acted film 5 stars
9/29/05 E. Northam Well-intentioned but maudlin; emotionally manipulative & patronizing 2 stars
9/15/05 Andy Best film of the year, withouit a doubt 5 stars
9/15/05 karis excellent 5 stars
9/13/05 chris james loved the movie saw it in toronto 5 stars
9/12/05 Alex Brisbourne Great story, touchingly produced, Hopkins shines 5 stars
8/24/05 Dave Pratt witnessed filming at salt flats. very meticulous. incredble attention to detail 5 stars
8/20/05 Dr. Lisa Excellent movie. I had a chance to preview it while in Sturgis. Well done. 5 stars
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  09-Dec-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Jun-2006

  24-Feb-2006 (12A)


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