Home Movie Reviews ‘Gran Turismo’ – Review
‘Gran Turismo’ – Review

‘Gran Turismo’ – Review


Embrace the speed of the track, and the pursuit of glory because Gran Turismo has arrived in theatres, and its an awesome watch.

Based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), a Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won him a series of Nissan-sponsored video game competitions to become an actual professional race car driver.

Get ready for the rush of the track because Gran Turismo moves from a gaming phenomenon to the big screen, and this is the ultimate underdog tale of what can be accomplished with focus, determination and the will to follow your dreams. After a long hiatus away from the big screen, visually gifted filmmaker Neill Blomkamp returns to the director’s chair to take on this fast-paced narrative, and he revs up the adrenaline for audiences. Showcasing the true story of the race car driver, Jann Mardenborough,  a passionate auto fan and gamer, who, through luck and skill, got the chance to live out his ultimate racing dreams, Blomkamp makes this a dramatic and action-packed film that will get the audiences hearts beating.

For a filmmaker as gifted as Blomkamp, Gran Turismo is a terrific canvas for him to apply his skills, and this is a cinematic experience that brings together image, sound and racing in seamless cohesion. With the help of Sony, Blomkamp and cinematographer Jacques Jouffret utilise the Sony Venice 2 camera system to put audiences right into the heart of the racing action. As an audience member, you’re there with Jann as he experiences the pace and force of the race track for the first time, and it’s captured with force. With dynamic swooping camera work and creatively constructed rigs, you’re placed right in the heart of the action of Gran Turismo. And this film moves at a hell of a quick pace. The excitement and dangers of the track are ever-present, and Blomkamp puts his audience right in the centre of the track.

Jann Mardenborough was the ultimate race fan who got to live out his wildest dreams on the track, and stepping into his shoes is young thespian Archie Madekwe, who shines in the role. As Mardenborough, Madekwe is the everyman of the picture, a middle-class kid, whose stuck in life, and whose ultimate dreams seem well beyond him. That is until an incredible opportunity presents itself for him, and he gets the chance to make his ultimate racing dreams come true. But it ain’t an easy ride, and the rigours of the track soon take their toll, and he’s faced with the choice of whether to step up, or back down. Madekwe brings a good-natured spirit to the role of Mardenborough, and his excitement for the role shines through. Djimon Hounsou and Geri Halliwell also bring a terrific presence to the film as Jann’s parents, and they back their son when he needs it.

Orlando Bloom changes pace with this role as opportunistic marketing guru Danny Moore. A fast-talking, sales genius, Orlando’s Moore is the quick-thinking brain behind the operation, and his character brings a chameleon presence to the film. Bloom’s presence in the picture is very much the man behind the scenes who has the vision to do what has never been done before, but juxtaposed against this is his position as the ultimate company man, and his focus on the bottom line and this leads to a measure of conflict in the race team. But when it counts, Orlando’s Moore is on track, and he’s there for Jann and his team and will do anything to see them succeed.

Bringing the film together is David Harbour as Jack Salter, a washed-up, has-been driver from the 1990s, who has been relegated to the sideline. Salter’s cynical of Moore’s GT Academy and the goal to turn sim racers into track stars, but with nothing to lose, and looking to kick the existing race system in the teeth, he jumps in. And he’s not mucking around. Like a racing drill sergeant, Salter eliminates all those who he doesn’t match up to standard and, fuelled by Black Sabbath and a longing for the track, becomes a reluctant, but eventually proud mentor to Madekwe’s Mardenborough. Harbour’s talent shines through in the role of Salter, and he steals every scene in which he appears thanks to his authoritative presence and world-weary emotion.

Gran Turismo has a serious edge, and the racing scenes take your breath away as an audience member. Blomkamp and his team take audiences to the track, and with the real Jann Mardenborough leading the pace as the lead stunt driver, you feel the rush of what it truly means to be an elite racing driver. The Nissan GT gets a starring role in this picture, and Blomkamp and his team push these high-performance vehicles to their limits in some fierce racing scenes. But the ultimate test for Madekwe’s Mardenborough comes with the 24 Hour of Le Mans, and the brutal push of the Mulsanne Straight. Packed into an LMP2, the speed is dialled up, and you’ll be holding your breath right up until the end of what was a historic moment for Mardenborough and the realisation of his ultimate dream.

Gran Turismo is a pure rush of entertainment and MUST be watched on the big screen. You feel the adrenaline and excitement of what it means to be an elite driver, and this ultimate underdog story will inspire the audiences to push harder to accomplish their dreams.

Image: Sony Pictures