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Film Review: GRAN TURISMO (2023): Neill Blomkamp’s Race Car Drama is a Pure Rush of Adrenaline That Will Keep Audiences Enthralled

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Archie Madekwe David Harbour Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo Review

Gran Turismo (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Jason Hall, Zach Baylin and Alex Tse and starring David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe, Takehiro Hira, Djimon Hounsou, Darren Barnet, Geri Horner, Josha Stradowski, Daniel Puig, Maeve Courtier-Lilley, Pepe Barroso, Niall McShea, Nikhiil Parmar, Thomas Kretschmann, Akie Kotabe, Sadao Ueda, Wai Wong and Jamie Kenna.

Neill Blomkamp has directed one of the most exciting movies of the summer with the rousing drama, Gran Turismo which is based on a true story. Though based on real events, the film is structured like a Hollywood blockbuster with some car racing sequences that are intense and authentic and help lend credibility to the events that transpire throughout the picture. A video-game inspired, reality-based movie could have been a disaster but Blomkamp does what he does best here which is intrigue audiences with compelling characters in intense situations.

Orlando Bloom is featured in the new picture as international Nissan rep, Danny Moore. Bloom’s character convinces Kazunori Yamauchi (Takehiro Hira) that the “simulated” driving experience of a select video player could help to give that special contender what it takes to drive with professional race car drivers. A group of lucky candidates get selected based on their video game-playing abilities to compete for a spot to drive with the pros. They’re mostly guys but two girls get chosen as well.

This film focuses on the lucky one who gets the chance to enter the big pro-racing competitions thanks to his capable “simulated” driving. That character is a male named Jann Mardenborough and is played perfectly by Archie Madekwe. His parents are trying to teach him responsibility at the start of the movie and Archie’s dad, Steve (the great Djimon Hounsou) takes him to his blue collar job to try to teach Archie about accepting life’s realities. But, Jann gets picked from some fierce competitors to potentially ride with the pros. Those competitors include Matty (a well-cast Darren Barnet). Thanks to Jann’s superlative racing abilities, he finds his need for speed is met and then some.

David Harbour has the most juicy role in the new film as Jack Salter who was once headed straight for the big time as a race car driver but got railroaded off track by life’s unpredictable events, one in particular. Jack and Danny end up debating whether or not Jann should be the spokesperson (the “simulated” driver sensation) that Danny is looking to represent his ambitious project. But, Jann won his way into competing with the professionals fair and square. Though Danny tries to stop Jann in his tracks initially, he soon becomes a supporter of Jann.

Jann’s family life is well portrayed in this picture. Hounsou has some fine scenes opposite Madekwe as Steve begins to realize that his son, Jann, has a lot of talent in his chosen specialization and the big scene between Hounsou and Madekwe is very emotionally involving towards the end of the picture. Geri Horner, as Jann’s mother, also has some moments to shine and Horner adds some real depth to her performance.

Kenny G and Enya music seem to drive the character of Jann and this makes for some funny parts within the film. A scene stands out where Jack plays an instrumental famous Kenny G song while Jann is in a major racing competition to keep Jann motivated. Meanwhile, a 24-hour race that concludes the movie is enough to keep audiences on the edge of their seats as they eagerly await to see if Jann has the “stuff” he needs to in order to win.

The movie is not without realism. A lot of things happen that throw obstacles in Jann’s way but although, sometimes, Jann gets defeated temporarily, he gets up and dusts himself off and gets back into that GTS. This film juxtaposes the older character of Jack who has given up his ambitions in life to Jann who has his whole life ahead of him to realize his dreams. Those dreams are not without danger, however, and this movie has some tense scenes sprinkled throughout that show the harsh realities of race car driving at this level.

There is a love interest for Jann named Audrey (Maeve Courtier-Lilley). Jann and Audrey meet early in the movie and their globe-trotting romance is enjoyable enough to root for although there isn’t much substance to it beyond the characters’ need for romantic companionship. Still, Madekwe and Courtier-Lilley generate some steamy chemistry on-screen which makes for some sweet sections in-between racing scenes.

Ultimately, though, it is Hounsou who impresses the most in the supporting cast. He has finally been given a role worthy of his talents and, as the devoted dad, Hounsou shines bright. It’s one of his best cinematic roles to date. Bloom is solid in his plot-launching role and the actor acquits himself admirably in a significant part within the movie.

Harbour is one of the best actors working today and this role is proof. His part in the film is that of the one who Jann looks up to and respects the most. Harbour’s characterization maintains a distinct, professional quality within that keeps Jack relatable for the entire film.

The action scenes are fierce and furious. One scene has the race car Jann is driving come apart in a simulation and then be reassembled as the movie shows the comparison between how he drives in the game versus how that talent lends itself to the race track. There are plenty of surprising plot developments that throw a wrench in Jann’s direct route to success and they are all expertly handled by Blomkamp.

This film shows the real-life characters that the movie is based upon at the end. This is a see-it-and-believe-it movie that will make audiences hold on to hope and realize that some dreams can be in reach if you put the hard work and dedication that is required into that said dream. It’s also an adrenaline rush like no other this summer. Blomkamp is an expert filmmaker and Gran Turismo is a fast-paced drama that is sure to keep audiences cheering in the aisles throughout.

Rating: 8.5/10

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