Sometimes it's difficult for a review to do a film justice. What I mean is, there are some films where you describe the plot and other people just yawn and say "That's not my sort of film", but if they saw the film for themselves they would be amazed. This is one of them. In my review four years ago I summed up the film:
This is the true story of the New Zealander motorcyclist Burt Munro and his first trip to the United States in 1962 to attempt to set a new land speed record.
That's it. That's all the film is about. Does it sound boring already?
After writing my review in 2010 one of my readers (also a personal friend) decided to check out the film. The next time I saw her she said, "Wow, Mike, that's my new favourite film". How can such a boring sounding film touch someone like this? While re-watching "The World's Fastest Indian" today that's the question I was asking myself. It's difficult to give an answer. The film is just perfect in so many different ways. I can name a few things about it that I like, but the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
- It's a perfect portrayal of life in 1960's New Zealand.
- It's a cute tale about an eccentric old man.
- It's a road movie through breath-taking scenery.
- It's a film about the culture clash of a man entering a new world.
- It's a collage of strange looking people in America.
But more than anything else, it's a story about the triumph of determination over adversities. Everyone told Burt that he would never succeed in his dreams. Everyone thought he was an idealistic old fool. But he didn't listen to them. At 63, an age when most men are content to sit in a rocking chair watching the world go by, he was determined to be the world's fastest man on a motorbike. Crazy. But he had a dream and he refused to back down.
When watching the film today I felt like scrapping all my lists and calling this the best film ever made. That's the immediate impression it makes on anyone watching it. That's the impression it will make on you if you decide to watch it after reading my review. Take my word for it.