World's Fastest Indian, the - What a Ride

Alliance Atlantis
Duration: 127min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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Sometimes you get the impression that Anthony Hopkins is the kind of actor who will say “yes” to any script that comes across his desk. He’s in so many films each year, you wonder how he has time to memorize all his lines. This leads to a lot of schlocky parts however it also puts him in many good roles as well. Fortunately The World’s Fastest Indian is one of the latter.

I know it doesn’t sound like much of a story. Old coot from New Zealand scrapes together the boat fare to travel to Utah to see if he can make his Indian Scout motorcycle go faster than 200 mph. There really isn’t much of a story here. The World’s Fastest Indian is more travelogue than narrative.

Hopkins’ character is the salt of the earth (appropriate that he’s heading to the Salt Flats, I imagine) and the film chronicles his encounters along the way. He’s pretty lucky too. Despite a few rude people, everyone he comes across is sweet and accommodating, helping him to reach his goal.

Except for maybe his heart trouble there is no real conflict in the entire 2 hours of The World’s Fastest Indian. It seems director Roger Donaldson doesn’t need conflict to make a compelling film. He has managed to create a narrative of this real man’s journey that is quite riveting without ever making you doubt that he will achieve his goal.

Donaldson isn’t known for remarkable work. Except for maybe 13 Days, his films, including Dante’s Peak, Species and even Cocktail, are less than impressive. However, somehow he has manages to take a rather boring tale and turn it into a heartfelt, engaging piece.

Much of this credit goes to Anthony Hopkins who really does make Munro a remarkable lead. His portrayal is sincere and layered enough that the audience can buy into the true story. The important thing is that you want to see him do it. You want it almost as bad as he does.

I guess anyone can take a good story and make a good film. Ask Chris Columbus if you want proof… on second thought ask Michael Bay who manages to mangle even a good script. Anyway, Donaldson and Hopkins have done one better by taking a rather average journey and making it into something special.

Review By: Collin Smith

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