© Universum/Buena Vista

Mit Herz und Hand (The World's Fastest Indian)
New Zealand/U.S.A. 2005

Opening 5 Oct 2006

Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Writing credits: Roger Donaldson
Principal actors: Anthony Hopkins, Iain Rea, Tessa Mitchell, Aaron Murphy, Tim Shadbolt

Sir Anthony Hopkins plays the real Burt Munro, a man from New Zealand whose greatest dream was to race in Speed Week in Bonneville, Utah. For years he lovingly rebuilt and repaired an original 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle, the object of derision by the local Hell’s Angels. He overcomes financial and health difficulties to realize his dream. The film traces his progress in three parts. In New Zealand he lives unconventionally in a shack among middle class families, where his best friends are a young neighbour boy who helps him repair things and his girl friend Ada. Later, the film becomes a road movie as he cooks on a ship to pay passage to the USA. Once there, he quarrels with customs about the release of his vehicle to travel from the west coast to Utah. Along the way he meets a transvestite and other colourful people, who succumb to his rough charm. Once in Bonneville his real troubles begin because he is not registered for the race. Luckily, people with influence are captivated by his unusual antique motorcycle. In the end, he races successfully, and eventually goes on to set speed records; one from 1967 still stands. He was a character with an answer for every situation, such as “You can play many songs on an old banjo” and “it was so hot the birds flew backwards to avoid the dust” and “there’s still lead in the old pencil.” The German title “with heart and hand” reflects the heartfelt emotions which might be too simple for some viewers, but are more often than not captivating. Everyone cheers for Bert in the end. Director Roger Donaldson presents a sympathetic character, who lived 1899-1978 and gives Hopkins an excellent role. (Becky Tan)

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