The World's Fastest Indian

Every year before Thanksgiving I do my bi-annual Thanksgiving column, which usually includes recommending movies for the family to watch. I do this because I realize that when you get all your loved ones together under one roof, you might like to kill each other. It's hard to find movies that anyone from 8 to 80 can enjoy, but that's why you pay me the big bucks. (Ahem: big bucks can be paid by clicking the Paypal link on your left.)

I scoured my ranks for Movie Reviews of family films that were watchable. (That's the trouble with most family films: they end up borrrrrrrrrring.)

Here are some titles where the movie might even be better than my review (and that's saying something!)




To this august list I would like to add a new treasure. You want to impress this entire family this year at Real Thanksgiving? Rent this:


The title may throw you off.

The inspiring tale of a boy named Punjab and an an Olympic Dream that would not die.

You're Asian! You'll never be able to run fast...or dance!”

By the many arms of Vishnu I swear I will make the Olympics, and bring back the gold medal so that one day my arranged wife will come to love me.”.....THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN

Or, maybe you envisioned something darker....

The government took his lands, killed his family, but they could never break his spirit....

There's a thousand gold pieces for whichever of youse catches that dirty Injun!”

But general, that's a fortune!”

It'll be worth it. No man love my wife and gets away with it.”

The entire US Army is on his trail, all over Hell and half of Oklahoma....but they'll have to catch him first....THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN

In actuality, the Indian referred to is a motorcycle. Here, take a look:

The old codger on top is Anthony Hopkins, in a performance every bit as nuanced and powerful as his Award-nominated work. (Hopkins should still be getting nominated on a regular basis, but it's almost like he's too good. They nominated him several years in a row, then decided that was it. Bastards.)

Hopkins plays Bert Munro, a New Zealander born with a love for speed. Bert has an old 1920s Indian Motorcycle he's rebuilt time and again. Bert doesn't have a lot (or any) money for fancy parts and equipment, but he's got a lifetime or know-how and ingenuity, and more than anything, Bert has a will to break the land speed record.

You've seen family films before. You know where this is going. What makes THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN not just another run of the mill “little man makes good” story is several things. For one, there is obviously Anthony Hopkins. When you get the world's greatest actor giving everything he's got, it just transcends the material.

Secondly—and this is a big thing for me—the story is true. Obviously there is some compression of events and dramatization of Bert's journey, but you know it actually happened.

And the reason you know it happened is because no Hollywood movie would ever script out this way.

For you see, THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN takes it's time. We journey with Bert from his home in Invercargill (which is sometimes spelled with one “L,” to save ink) all the way to Los Angeles, and then on to Utah, Bonneville Salt Flats, where people come every year for “Speed Week,” and hope to be gods.

The end of the movie is thrilling. But by then we've already had a wonderful time with Bert on the road, seeing his unique view of life, meeting the colorful crazy characters he runs into. (And a few times, more than that, as it turns out the girls go crazy for a crazy old man with an ever crazier old motorcycle.)

I don't want to go into much more detail than I have. Suffice it to say Hyperion puts all the weight of his movie-recommending reputation behind THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN. It's warm, colorful and decent, which means the entire family can watch without worry of harming the kids, offending the old people, or boring mom and dad. (I would watch it with the captions, at least at first, though, because the New Zealand accents can be tricky until you're used to them.)

This Holiday as you argue with family over who gets the white meat, who has to do the dishes, and who poured Aunt Patty that third glass of wine find something you can all agree on, and watch THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN.


clblogs said...

It is a great movie for sure.

Dragon said...

I'll watch anything Anthony Hopkins in it.

tiff said...

Ah - thanks for the recommendation!