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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Edition No 894 

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WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In the mid 60s (and in his own 60s), having spent decades streamlining and re-engineering his 1920s Indian motorcycle, New Zealander (Burt Munro) scrapes up the money to take his beloved No 35 from Invercargill to Bonneville Flats in Utah for Speed Week. Desperate to officially test the Indian on the world's fastest salt flats, Munro defies his failing heart, his rough and ready mechanical solutions and his amateur status to talk his way into the biggest, most acclaimed test of land speed - and his own biggest dream. His world land speed record in his category (streamlined motorbikes under 1000 cc) still stands today.

Review by Louise Keller:
A spellbinding road movie about a man with a dream, The World's Fastest Indian tells not only a true story but introduces us to a priceless original. Burt Munro was a simple man who lived in the small New Zealand town of Invercargill. But there was nothing simple or ordinary about the dream he had to make his beloved 1920 classic Indian motorcycle not only roadworthy, but to break the speed records on the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah. Nor was there anything conventional about the way he achieved his goal. He believed danger was the spice of life and what made it all worthwhile.

Director Roger Donaldson knew Munro personally and was passionate to tell his story without compromise. Armed with the giant talents of Anthony Hopkins, the World's Fastest Indian engages from the outset. Together with Munro, we set out on his life-changing journey to Utah, meeting an eclectic mix of characters along the way. There's the Tina the transvestite in 'Hollyweird', Fernando the Mexican used car salesman, Jake the old tribal Indian, Ada who 'can always use a little cuddle', Rusty the county sheriff and the young soldier on leave from Vietnam. At each turn as he endears the world without even trying.

Armed with pills for his angina and single minded in his focus, Munro never lets issues like no parachute or no brakes deter him ('I'm not planning to stop'), and his unconventional methods (such as borrowing his next door neighbour's carving knife to remove tread from his tyres, and lifting his head up as he reaches high speeds to balance the unstable bike) are inspiring.

Donaldson's script is well paced and the tension builds as the stakes rise when Munro reaches Utah. When at last he has the opportunity to realise his goals ('the reward is in the doing of it'), we are willing him to succeed. We feel the thrill of driving with him at full throttle along the stark white salt flats that extend into forever, and the rewards are high. There are highs and lows and a superbly judged performance by Hopkins.

Published September 7, 2006



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, THE: DVD (PG)
(New Zealand/US, 2005)

CAST: Anthony Hopkins, Diana Ladd, Aaron Murphy, Annie White, Paul Rodriguez, Chris Willaims, Chris Lawford

PRODUCER: Roger Donaldson, Gary Hannam

DIRECTOR: Roger Donaldson

SCRIPT: Roger Donaldson

CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Gribble

EDITOR: John Gilbert

MUSIC: J. Peter Robinson

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robert Gillies, J. Dennis Washington

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 6, 2006

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: None

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific

DVD RELEASE: September 6, 2006 (Rental)







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