Today’s cinematic landscape is flooded with adaptations of every variety. From comic books to novels, Hollywood has left no stone unturned. Yet, a fresh entrant from Sony Pictures took me on a ride, not through fantastical worlds, but on a track, bridging the virtual with reality. This adaptation isn’t of a novel or comic, but rather a video game – “Gran Turismo.” But “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story” offers more than just a pixelated thrill.
We begin our journey with Danny Moore, brilliantly portrayed by Orlando Bloom, a marketing savant from Nissan‘s English division. Faced with a generation infatuated with instant rides and Uber, he aims to reignite the fire for cars. His ingenious solution? Collaborating with game designer Kazunori Yamauchi, played by Takehiro Hira. Yamauchi’s “Gran Turismo” isn’t just any racing game; it’s a passion project that mirrors reality. The film’s core idea revolves around transforming the best virtual drivers into real racers, with our young protagonist, Jann Mardenborough (a heartfelt performance by Archie Madekwe), battling prejudices to transform his virtual passions into tangible reality.
While I may not belong to the car aficionado tribe, this film guided me into their world. The riveting sounds – the engine’s roar, tires’ screech, and the gear-shift whoosh – were more than just audibles. They were an experience, resonating with each seat thump, translating the track’s exhilaration right into the auditorium. Thanks to clever cinematic tools, the audience is never lost amidst the race’s frenzy. Dynamic drone shots swooping down the tracks further intensified the thrill.
However, the film’s linchpin is its cast. Bloom’s Danny Moore is a mix of ambition and vulnerability. David Harbour’s Jack Salter, the guardian angel of the racers, evolves from a stern overseer to a supportive mentor. But it’s Madekwe’s portrayal of Mardenborough that truly captivates. His reserved demeanor serves as a protective shield, intensifying the moments when his raw emotions finally break through.
The film, although elongated, keeps its momentum thanks to Neill Blomkamp’s directorial prowess. His storytelling, paired with an enchanting score, crescendos with perhaps the most unexpected yet fitting inclusion of Enya’s “Orinoco Flow.” However, the movie’s insistent mantra, “this is not a game”, felt repetitive, slightly hinting at an underestimation of its audience.
“Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story” isn’t merely about a video game adaptation. It’s about dreams, struggles, and the thin line between the virtual and the real. It reminded me of the pure joy and passion that can drive us from the virtual realm into the tangible world. Would I recommend it? Emphatically, yes. The film didn’t just tell a story; it raced into my heart, making me feel the adrenaline, the anticipation, and the triumph of crossing one’s finish line.
“GRAN TURISMO,” on screens August 11, 2023
Directed by – Neill Blomkamp
Screenplay by – Jason Hall & Zach Baylin
Story by – Jason Hall & Alex Tse
Based on “Gran Turismo” by PlayStation Studios
Music by – Lorne Balfe & Andrew Kawczynski
Cinematography by – Jacques Jouffret
Edited by – Austyn Daines & Colby Parker Jr.
Production/Distribution Companies – Columbia Pictures, PlayStation Productions, 2.0 Entertainment, Trigger Street Productions & Sony Pictures
Starring – Archie Madekwe, David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Takehiro Hira, Darren Barnet, Djimon Hounsou, Geri Halliwell Horner, Daniel Puig, Josha Stradowski, Daniel Puig, Maeve Courtier-Lilley, Pepe Barroso, Niall McShea, Thomas Kretschmann, Akie Kotabe, Harki Bhambra, Emelia Hartford, Lindsay Pattison, Mariano González, Maximilian Mundt, Sang Heon Lee, Théo Christine & Nikhil Parmar
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