DVD Review: The World’s Fastest Indian (NZ)

For the mechanically untutored, the title of this film might suggest a cross between Chariots of Fire and Gandhi . Unfortunately, the reality is far less enjoyable than the image of a bespectacled Mahatma sprinting fervently down a beach while Vangelis pumps out the synth motivation music. The film, a New Zealand creation, is a vehicle for the wizened skills of Sir Anthony Hopkins. Now, I could have sworn that Hopkins was on the verge of retirement when he worked on the disappointingly muddy Scott Hicks film, Hearts in Atlantis , but he seems to have found it very hard to settle into the comfort of his title or age. There he was as everyone’s favourite Chianti-enthusiast licking his lips at Julianne Moore (don’t we all?) and he even managed to pop in an on-screen liaison with Nicole Kidman in The Human Stain. The latter film, based on the rather better novel by Philip Roth, had Hopkins, a Welshman, playing an African-American man who pretends to be Jewish, which got me wondering whether he couldn’t have actually played a New Zealander pretending to be Ghandi. If he had, the film might have been much more interesting. Alas, there is nothing particularly unpredictable about this plodding piece of cinematic mediocrity. Hopkins is perfectly brilliant though uninspiring, the script is generally dull and the overall effect for me was tedium. By the way, I should mention that the eponymous Indian is a motorcycle and perhaps one of the redeeming elements of the film is the Freudian smorgasbord you can have with your delinquent friends as you watch old Hopkins mount his tumescent, red, vibrating phallus of a bike in the missionary position before he accelerates into the greatest five minutes of his life.