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Time Out says

It takes a while to adjust to this amiable film’s languorous tempo but you might find it’s worth the wait. Back in the 1960s, an ageing New Zealander called Burt Munro set out across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats on his home-tweaked 1920 Indian motorcycle and, against all odds, went on to break a land-speed record.

Director Roger Donaldson opts for such a simple, chronological format that you could leave it for 15 minutes and not miss a trick. It’s Anthony Hopkins’s performance, that really invigorates this easy-going, ‘Straight Story’-esque road odyssey. His portrayal is of an eccentric, stoic old coot with a dicky heart who bores the pants off everyone (and maybe you) with small talk about the piston rings he knocks up in his garage. His neighbours still love him, though, and join the community in raising enough readies to help him discover his dream, never believing for a minute that he’d actually pull it off. When he gets to the States, Munro bumps into a gaggle of Lynchian weirdos, yet accepts them for what they are without batting an eyelid. He’s just so damn likeable that everyone he meets chips in to help, and that’s what gives the movie its charm.

Despite a few cornball clichés, the film builds to an impressive ‘will he/won’t he’ climax when the underdog finally makes it to Utah and is told that his bike doesn’t meet the safety requirements – but then what’s a little adversity to a man who lived by the Malcolm Campbell code of old-fashioned risk-taking? The film’s beautifully mounted, has an authentically ’60s feel, and is mostly very engaging. It’s funny, too.
Written by Derek Adams

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 10 March 2006
  • Duration:127 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Roger Donaldson
  • Screenwriter:Roger Donaldson
  • Cast:
    • Anthony Hopkins
    • Jessica Cauffiel
    • Saginaw Grant
    • Diane Ladd
    • Chris Lawford
    • Aaron Murphy
    • Paul Rodriguez
    • Annie Whittle
    • Chris Williams
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