For 25 years in Invercargill at the south end of New Zealand, Burt Munro (1899-1978) has been working on increasing the speed of his motorcycle, a 1920 Indian. He dreams of taking it to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see how fast it will go. By the early 1960s, heart disease threatens his life, so he mortgages his house and takes a boat to Los Angeles, buys an old car, builds a makeshift trailer, gets the Indian through customs, and heads for Utah. Along the way, people he meets are charmed by his open, direct friendliness. If he makes it to Bonneville, will they let an old guy on the flats with makeshift tires, no brakes, and no chute? And will the Indian actually respond? Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. Writer/Director Roger Donaldson has been very prolific in his Hollywood career creating mostly slick, ho-hum projects such as "The Recruit", "Thirteen Days", "Dante's Peak" and "Cocktail". Although there is a touch of sap in this one, Donaldson turns on the charm for the fascinating tale of Burt Munro, the New Zealander who shocked the world with his speed records in the 1960's.
Playing a bit like a motorized "Hidalgo", the film captures your heart and imagination thanks in large part to the amazing journey of this spirited man and the terrific performance of Sir Anthony Hopkins. Making his way half way around the world with almost no money to his name, Munro realizes a life long dream of running his hand-built 1920 Indian "motor-sickle" at the Salt Flats of Bonneville in Utah. his journey and openness introduce him to so many people along the way. His warm heart and courage just will these folks to help him out. Everyone wants ol' Burt to make it.
While you may think to yourself this is just a light-hearted Hollywood feel-good film, just remember the man and the story are real. Donaldson and Hopkins worked together over 20 years ago in "The Bounty" and have another very interesting project under way now with "Papa" - a biopic on Ernest Hemingway. Three supporting performances really stand out: Diane Ladd, (comedian) Paul Rodriguez and Christopher Lawford (Peter's son) as Jim Moffit. Donaldson, in a nice touch, also spreads in a few appearances of the guys from the high speed world.
This is one you can take the family to and almost everyone will enjoy the story, journey and spirit of Burt Munro. And believe me when I say, you will never look at Lemon trees the same again!!
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