We kicked off 2006's movie viewing with this gentle little movie about a New Zealander succeeding against the odds. There's nothing startling about it - it purports to be a film about a New Zealander going to the USA and breaking the world land speed record for a motorbike and that's exactly what it is.
There's plenty to admire, like Anthony Hopkins breaking out of his stuffed-shirt-englishman mould and doing a very good job as an ordinary kiwi bloke. I particularly liked his tendency to talk to everyone (from US Immigration officials to the motel receptionist) as if they were an acquaintance and his capturing of that complete incomprehension of the fact that most Americans have never heard of New Zealand and couldn't care less. And he'd mastered the accent quite well. The scenery was good, especially Oreti Beach in Southland and the salt lake bed they raced on in the US. Tim Shadbolt in a bit part raised a smile, as did the character that said "This will really put Invercargill on the map", because that's what New Zealanders said so many times about the film itself.
The Americans portrayed in the film were all kind and wonderful people - even Sheriffs have hearts of gold hidden behind those pointy badges - but they did seem just a touch cliche'd - the trans-sexual motel receptionist, the American Indian, the eccentric older lady who lived in the middle of nowhere - but maybe it wouldn't have been such fun for Burt to have encounters with just ordinary folk. I did wonder if this was supposed to be a film about an extraordinary New Zealander or an advertisement for the fundamental decency of the American character.
We had a pleasant evening watching this film.
Anne's rating:3/5, Ian's rating:3/5