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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "Gran Turismo"

I will admit it: I never got into auto racing. I understand that it is a global phenomenon, but my mindset is if I want to see a bunch of cars drive around, I can just go to the nearest interstate. Sooner than later, I am sure that I will attend a race at Texas Motor Speedway, and may change my mind, but the closest I am getting for now is checking out Gran Turismo.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9), Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) is a nineteen-year-old in England who is struggling with his direction in life outside of being very good at the PlayStation hit game in the title of the film. Marketing expert Danny Moore (Bloom) sees how realistic the game is and goes to Nissan with an idea to bring some of the best players of Gran Turismo to a competition where the winner gets the chance to race in real life. Jann qualifies and finds himself in that very prestigious position, finding out quickly that real-life racing and simulations are worlds apart, especially when the lead instructor named Jack Slater (Harbour) is not 100% supportive. As Jann hits the track, he realizes that the stakes are high and could be more than he bargained for.

I am just gonna say it: I LOVED THIS MOVIE! Harbour does well in the role of a racer-turned-instructor who has a chip on his shoulder, while Bloom does not disappoint as the executive who knows he is truly putting everything on the line for his plan to work. The true standout here is Madekwe, who hits it out of the park as a guy who does not have a lot on his resume but commands the screen like a seasoned veteran of the big screen as a guy with family issues while carrying the weight of gamers everywhere on his shoulders perfectly. At two hours and fifteen minutes, I tend to worry about how the pacing is going to be, but Gran Turismo does NOT have that problem. It races by (pun intended), with only just a little bit that could have been cut out. I also liked that although this is an underdog tale, it doesn’t just show the victories; it also shows the setbacks the team faces on many sides alongside the consequences when things don’t go perfectly.

This film is not made with a bunch of pizazz but brings a very down-to-earth story that uses the narrative to enhance the CGI instead of the other way around. It’s almost like it is one half narrative and half documentary in the way it is presented, and I consider that a compliment. However, those visuals were nothing short of amazing, making me feel like I was right there with the characters whether it was in the care or in the pits. I also like the way Jann’s car was shown as to where he was in the race most of the time in the same way racing is done on television right alongside with meshing the live-action racing with the gaming version. Alongside great sound editing, this film kept me all-in at all times, and I really have nothing critical to say about it. Not only does Gran Turismo get my rare recommendation of a full-price showing in the theaters along with seeing it a premium format, I am also giving my “Bomb City Promise” that this film will make my Top Ten at the end of the year and could medal (no pun intended).

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