I recently caught the film Gran Turismo on Netflix, and I have to start with a confession: I initially struggled to get through it, not because it lacked quality, but because of its substantial length. In an era where movies often exceed two hours, this one leans heavily into its self-centered narrative, focusing on the true story of a team of unexpected underdogs—a working-class gamer, a former race car driver, and an idealistic motorsports executive. While the synopsis might sound intriguing, the long and short of it is that the movie revolves around the true story of Jann Mardenborough, a UK teen gamer who transitioned into becoming a professional racing car driver.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp and featuring Archie Madekwe as Mardenborough, and also starred David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet, Geri Halliwell Horner, and Djimon Hounsou. As someone who loves action movies, sports, and narratives based on true stories, I was immediately drawn in. The underdog tale of a gamer turning into a real racer due to the lifelike qualities of Gran Turismo games intrigued me—a marketing experiment that defied the odds.
However, the film’s extended runtime prompted me to ponder whether it was entirely necessary. While I appreciate origin stories and underdog tales, I couldn’t help but feel that the inclusion of a romance subplot was excessive. In the current landscape of cinema, there’s a tendency to romanticize characters unnecessarily. I found myself wishing the focus had remained on Mardenborough’s relationship with his mentor, the former race car driver (David Harbour). The movie’s length could have been trimmed by removing this romantic angle.
Moreover, I yearned for a more robust exploration of the father-son relationship, a dynamic that seemed to hold significant potential but was overshadowed by the unnecessary romantic subplot. The film’s strength lies in its portrayal of grit, offering an inspiring lesson on resilience. The father-son storyline, while not fully developed, delivers a poignant moment at the end that resonates.
Gran Turismo is a good film that despite the speed of the drivers, is told at a slow pace. It offers an inspiring narrative on grit and delivers a valuable lesson on mentorship. While it may not rank among the best in the genre of based-on-a-true-story action sports films, the real story it tells is undeniably fascinating. I recommend giving it a watch, especially for the chance to learn about Jann Mardenborough’s remarkable journey, a man who has raced over 200 times in real life. It’s available on Netflix, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.