BASED ON ONE HELL OF A TRUE STORY.
In 1972, director Roger Donaldson made a short TV documentary about Burt Munro, the colorful New Zealand motorcyclist who decided in 1967 (at the age of 68) to travel to Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats with his Indian and set a land-speed world record. The story has remained with Donaldson and this is his loving, sweet and entertaining feature film portrayal of Munro and his quest. It’s an uplifting experience, not least thanks to Anthony Hopkins’s performance. Showing that he’s still got it in him, he is riveting as an old man who has one amusing encounter after the other on his way to Utah.
2005-U.S.-New Zealand. 126 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Roger Donaldson, Gary Hannam. Written and directed by Roger Donaldson. Cast: Anthony Hopkins (Burt Munro), Diana Ladd (Ada), Paul Rodriguez (Fernando), Aaron Murphy, Annie Whittle, Chris Williams… Bruce Greenwood.
Last word: “After I’d finished my last film ‘The Recruit’, I thought ‘I’ve been talking about this movie and thinking about it for years and years, why don’t I pull it out one last time. Either get on with it or move on?’ What I realised was that the real character was a solo individual who really was on this quest and that his relationship was with his motorbike as much as it was with any person. Anthony Hopkins and I were talking about another project that didn’t happen and it just, it came to me that, you know, Anthony, while he was younger than the character as I wanted him to be, was suddenly, could be a great choice and I sent him the script and the documentary. Anyway, Anthony called me back and in speaking in Burt’s dialect, you know, he’s like, ‘Yeah, Rog, I guess we better do this, eh?'” (Donaldson, ABC)