The World’s Fastest Indian may sound like a documentary, but it’s the best of both worlds. Burt Munro’s amazing true adventure story is realised as Roger Donaldson fulfills a 25 year dream. Munro was obsessed with his Indian motorcycle in the same way that Donaldson has pursued this film. The World’s Fastest Indian is a labour of love, and Donaldson’s attention to detail and eccentricity shine through in this biographical piece. Burt Munro set a land-speed world record at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in 1967. This story is about his passion for life, his American adventure and his lifetime obsession with a modified 1920 Indian motorcycle.
Anthony Hopkins stars as Munro, and embodies the man in one of his best roles yet. This isn’t anything remotely close to Hannibal Lecter, and Hopkins demonstrates the antithesis of his most famous performance. Hopkins enjoyed the part, and he just beams with spirit. Apart from some slight fluctuations in his accent, he is Burt Munro. The World’s Fastest Indian isn’t only for motorcycle enthusiasts or Kiwis, but appeals to everyone in its zest for life. The film underlines some universal beliefs: you’re never too old to succeed; the harder you try, the closer you get; believe in yourself and never quit dreaming.
Munro was a man who didn’t let his circumstances get him down, and his charm and eccentricities led the way. Some may have described him as stubborn, but he sure was determined. Donaldson is faithful to the era, and peppers Munro’s adventure with winning characters as he makes his journey to the Salt Flats. The World’s Fastest Indian is funny, and the script carries some fantastic laugh-out-loud lines. Hopkins embraces the comedy quite naturally, and it’s great to see him with a smile. This could have been a quirky Coen brothers film, but nestles snugly into Donaldson’s vision.
Burt Munro was a legend that never quit trying, and this film harnesses his sheer determination and passion for living. It’s not surprising that this simple road trip adventure plucks a few heart strings. Donaldson delivers crisp story-telling in direction and script, Hopkins is impeccable as Munro and this beautifully true story all add up to one amazing film.
The bottom line: Inspirational.