Gran Turismo is the name of a Play Station car racing simulation game. This movie is however not an adaptation of the game but is based on an amazing true story of how a 19 years old Gran Turismo expert gamer became a professional race car driver. On paper this story just cannot possibly be real but Jann Mardenborough did indeed win the GT Academy competition in 2011 and was subsequently trained to compete in motorsports events, cumulating in an amazing race in Le Mans! This Hollywood version of the true story is of course creatively enhanced to make this not only far more entertaining and exciting than it has any right to be, but also incredibly inspiring, uplifting and poignant.
After watching the movie, I googled the internet to see how much of it was real and how much was fantasy. I was pleasantly surprised that the main story line and some major events depicted on screen actually took place, but many of the side characters and details were added. For example, the character that Orlando Bloom plays, the marketing manager for Nissan Danny Moore does not exist but is based loosely on the GT Academy Founder Darren Cox. Jack Salter the mentor and key inspirator to Jann’s success in the story is not based on a real person and entirely fictional. However, his character and relationship to Jann provides a strong back story to the whole movie. David Harbour whom we all recognise as Jim Hopper from the hit TV Series Stranger Things does a fantastic job here as Jack and provide a pivotal contribution to why the movie works so well. Of course, our young actor Archie Madekwe is also excellently cast as Jann displaying a convincing transformation from SIM racer nerd to professional car racer. Other lesser supporting acts from Djimon Hounsou and “Ginger Spicegirl” Geri Horner as Jann’s parents were also effective in spite of only brief scenes.
Apart from the great storyline and performances, the movie also benefits from an uplifting soundtrack, a booming sound effects and superb camera work of the races, making Gran Turismo a truly audio visual treat to the ears, eyes and heart. Like the film’s protagonist, Gran Turismo is pretty much an underdog buried under all the Hollywood blockbusters that get churned out like a dime a dozen. It is easy for it to fall under the radar of many movie fans so if you haven’t watched this yet, I highly recommend you do. This is easily one of my favourite movies of the year so far.