For twenty-five years in Invercargill, 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?
Excellent Movie Making And A Wonderful Story
I was lucky enough to see this film on a Qantas flight from LA to Melbourne early in December. My expectation was a low budget, low brow, attempt at making a motorsport film. I was truly blown away by what I saw. Anthony Hopkins deserves an Academy Award for the understated performance of Bert Munro. Always polite, and always focused Bert’s dream get embedded in your heart and becomes your dream as well. The journey becomes the story with the characters he meets along the way getting obsessed with his vision as well. The scenes at The Bonneville Salt Flats are stunning and picturesque. I was left with a smile I couldn’t get off my face and a tear in my eye. A simple film with a simple premise becomes my “Best Of” pick for 2005.