There are truly, very few movies for car people/petrol heads, that really communicate the passion and emotion that our obsession means to us. In the US what we get for “automotive lifestyle” programing are really bad reality shows that aren’t much more than sixty minutes, well forty to forty two minutes of advertorial programing, the rest commercials, many of those for the products you just saw used in the show.
True gear heads in Hollywood are few and far between, and the ones that are mostly keep quiet because most of their colleagues are screaming about being green, and in a town that makes the high school cheerleading squad seem non cliquey, if you want to pay for your hobby and keep working, best to keep it on the down low.
There are of course a few exceptions, Jay Leno, Patrick Dempsey, Tim Allen, a few others, but you didn’t hear much about it till they were very successful, and their names were enough to sell tickets, get ratings etc to make sure everyone else was making money to keep them happy.
Eric Bana is an actor from Australia that you may have seen in Ang Lee’s “The Hulk” the 2009 re-boot of Star Trek, Troy, and a few others. Since his early days, he has been a gear head, and from the age of 15 he has had an obsession, it is his 1974 Ford Falcon XB Coupe.
Through good times and bad Eric has kept this car, first as his daily driver, then as a race car. He mad a documentary about his obsession with the car called “Love The Beast” and for me, it is the best car movie I have seen in a very long time and the best movie I saw in 2009.
Looking at some of the reviews you see comments from people who aren’t gear heads talking about how they weren’t into this movie that much but it did explain the obsession well. That to me is the key point here. Even non car people can begin to understand what drive us, to a point at least. Here are two clips from the movie I’ve spliced together of Jeremy Clarkson, explaining this better than I’ve ever seen done before.
The turning point for Bana’s Beast was running the car in the 1996 Targa Tasmania, a road rally in the spirit of the old Targa Florio. It runs for five days on the Island of Tasmania, and in Australian motorsports importance is rivaled only by the Bathurst 1000 in importance, and the Bathurst race is said by Aussies to be their version of LeMans.
The movie is how Eric completely rebuilt his Falcon to run once again in the race, as a full on race car and his experiences of elation and of depression after he has an accident on the fourth of the five days of the rally.
Through his own voice overs, and interviews with Jay Leno, Jeremy Clarkson and Dr. Phil (who for the first time ever comes off as intelligent and likable rather than a full on douchebag) they talk about what the car means to him and if he will rebuild it after this incident. Will the car be written off, or once again become the campfire by which he and his mates gather around once again to rebuild once again.
The movie has a very limited release after being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, and while the DVD is on sale in Australia and the EU, it is NOT available here in the US. Now, depending on how you feel about the subject you can download the movie here.
There is also work that this will be shown on the SPEED channel on December the 18th, check your local listings, but having this go to commercial every 5-7 minutes I think will really kill the flow of this movie. It’s only 90 minutes in length, but communicates a lifetime of love and obsession.
Here is the official movie trailer