Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The World's Fastest Indian

The World's Fastest Indian was a 2005 American/New Zealand biographical film based on the InvercargillNew Zealand speed bike racer Burt Munro and his highly modified Indian Scout motorcycle. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. When I first heard about the film I thought of Native American Indians and particularly of One of Them perhaps going to the Olympics and out-running the shit out of Lightening Bolt! It was anything but that. Then I began to think of an Indian from the subcontinent of India perhaps running faster than anyone could ever run. What I never thought about was an old bloke from Kiwi-Land and the machine he'd built; curiously called The Indian. So when I finally got the pirated movie, it was pleasant to know that the evil genius that is Dr Hannibal was in the lead! And whaddya know? He was the biker and it was his bike that was The Indian. 
Sir Hopkins is charming as only he can be... as he jostles with the locals. The part where the local bikers get to the dock and hand him a wad of cash collected from the gang is touche! As are the scenes where he talks about his plans to go aboard a ship on the understanding he'd be doing the cooking and feeding the crew till they anchor somewhere in... Los Angeles? I'm a bit blurry here but he befriends the ship mates and once shored, gets his Indian confiscated by the local authorities. Never mind is the attitude as he hails a cab and gets going to find shelter. The way he interacts with the local native americans of whatever different lineages and the look of bewilderment, awe, surprise, disbelief are what's left of his interesting encounters with the American variety.
The film was written and directed by Roger Donaldson. He done a fine job. The Salt Lake scenes are beautiful... breathtaking and I wondered "What happens to all the salt?" Turns out that the salt is the lake and the lake, if there's one, is frozen saltish-white and this is where Munro, Burt Monro as he introduces himself wants to set the land record, with an Indian and a big grin on his face that always greets and gets the locals as he goes "How ya doin' mate?"  
The film opened in December 2005 to positive reviews and quickly became the highest grossing local film at the New Zealand box-office taking in $7,043,000; and taking in over US$18,297,690 worldwide.

Burt Munro is a regular bloke; a sort of folk hero in his hometown for his friendly and charming personality and for being featured in Popular Mechanics magazine (May 1957 p6) for having the fastest motorcycle in Australia and New Zealand. However, that recognition is contrasted by his exasperated neighbours, who are fed up with his un-neighbourly habits such as urinating on his lemon tree every morning, neglecting his garden, and, most of all, waking up before sunrise to rev his bike's very loud engine.
Burt travels by cargo ship to the USA to participate in the Bonneville Speed Week, his longtime dream. When Burt arrives in Los Angeles, he experiences bureaucracy, skepticism and the coldness of big city people. It is his blunt but gregarious nature which overcomes each hurdle. He wins over the hardened motel clerk, a transgender woman named Tina, who assists him in clearing customs and helps him in buying a car. The car salesman allows Burt to use his shop to make a trailer and later offers him a job after Burt fixes most of the cars on the lot. Burt declines the offer, however, and shortly afterwards begins his long trip to Utah. On a stopover, he has a lovely siesta with a local lonesome spinster. One thing Burt does well is keep things well... and simple. In the end, he comes across as a gentle and good-hearted human being who just loves his Indian and wants to do something with- roar as loud as he can and as fast as any Indian can go... And that's what he does, minus any qualms.
Some folks live to dream and others live to fulfill that dream. Burt does the latter and to do it at that age! All beauty fully portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins. What an actor... What a man that Burt Munro and what a bike that Indian!
Catch it if you can... Its a gentle human story that rides as smoothly!

***From Me & Wiki!
(^) LOVE TO RIDE; RIDE TO LOVE - {{{::::::::::::>>>

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