We’ve all been there: a movie that looks and sounds lame ends up being surprisingly good, making you question your entire existence and purpose in life and the ability to judge people, places, and things objectively. Enter Gran Turismo, a racing drama about a video game player who defies the odds to become a professional driver.
Confoundedly directed by Neill Blomkamp, known for sci-fi fare like District 9 and not seemingly direct-for-hire fare like Gran Turismo, the movie is a surprisingly fun and engaging romp around the track. While it may not break any new ground, it taps into the tried-and-true underdog sports genre and delivers in spades. It also helps that Gran Turismo is based on a true story—the concept otherwise may have been a tough sell.
Archie Madekwe proves to be a stellar casting choice—his charisma and drive elevates the material. Then there is David Harbour, who turns in one of the best performances of his career with a character that easily could have been given to a thousand other actors, who in turn would have done nothing with it. He is excellent. Orlando Bloom is in the movie too, though he’s given short thrift with an inconsistent character.
Gran Turismo isn’t award-winning quality, but it delivers all the way to checkered flag. Color me baffled and wallowing in my own self doubt about what is up and what is done.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.