Offerings to the God of Speed

I got to see The World’s Fastest Indian on the flight over from Sydney. It is a terrific movie. I am going to write more about it later — especially because it captures exactly what I mean by “enthusiasm” in my dissertation — but I just wanted to recommend it here in case anyone has the opportunity to see it. Do not expect something constructed as ‘sophisticated’ and do not expect something that attempts to beat you over the head with cutesy charm. There is no nudity in the film but you will see something as naked or perhaps as ‘distilled’ as you are ever going to get. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Oh, it stars Anthony Hopkins and he is bloody brilliant.

This critic doesn’t get it, although I think he senses he is not getting something.

This critic thinks the middle sags, but doesn’t realise that the biggest problem for enthusiasts of speed is in, as Virilio might say, the logistics. Plus he entirely misses the point about the critique of 1960s America…

From here:

“Part road movie, part extreme-sports biopic, and all shaggy-dog story, Roger Donaldson’s The World’s Fastest Indian evades easy classification—to say nothing of a target audience, unless aficionados of over-the-hill-biker flicks have become a sought-after demographic. Regardless, it’s hard to resist the film’s pleasantly rambling narrative and market-defying eccentricity. […] But Donaldson and his cast still manage to capture something of the strange randomness of existence here, and the result is a film as tenacious, peculiar, and likable as Burt Munro himself.”

It’s about the enthusiasm. You can taste it while watching this film (or maybe that was some ‘titanium tea’, lol). Everyone can understand the attraction and total meaningless of absolute meaning. Indeed, one’s enthusiasm ups the stakes at every role of the dice.

From here:

“The film offers no complexities, details about Burt’s earlier life and family or even hints about why his old bike is so much faster than new models. Button-pushing score emphasizes the most obvious emotional notes of the story. Despite it all, however, pic leaves a sweet, rather than sticky, taste.”

The complexities all stem from the enthusiasm; that is, film is organised a prepersonal enthusiasm for motorbikes/speed as much as the actions of the characters it depicts.

This person missed something about the people Burt (Hopkins) meets along the way to Utah:

“A few of Burt’s encounters are flat and pointless, hanging there like spare parts that add nothing to the story. More tinkering by Donaldson could have resulted in a leaner, meaner film.”

There are a few interesting connections to conversations that have been happening on here recently, particularly regarding conceptions of ‘mateship’. I suspect the Kiwi conception of ‘mateship’ is very similar to the Australian version. Anthony Hopkins plays ‘mateship’ very well.

2 thoughts on “Offerings to the God of Speed”

  1. Unbelievable film. Well done and I wish that more Americans, well people in general, can be more like Burt. Adventurous, open, honest and centered. Poo on those looking for an epic when a good story will do. How fantastic for him..and for those there to watch.

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