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It’s true: Motorcycles make you look cool. Even if you’re an old man who can’t hear too well, goes on and on with his stories and statistics, and ends every other sentence with “And Bob’s your uncle.” Or at least that’s what writer-director Roger Donaldson’s The World’s Fastest Indian teaches us. The film tells the more-or-less-true story of Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins), an eccentric New Zealander who spent years customizing his 1920 Indian so he could participate in—and, ultimately, set records at—Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats Speed Week in the ’60s, which means, yes, Indian is a follow-your-dream movie. But Munro dreams not so much big as obsessive, and Hopkins brilliantly embodies this white-haired senior who lives in a garage, smelts his own pistons, and calls his experimental failures “offerings to the god of speed.” Munro is both sharp and clueless, rattling off the science behind his avocation with rapid-fire, Kiwi-accented ease but frequently becoming bewildered when faced with such commonplace realities of American life as cabs and event registrations. Indeed, the feel-good script hits a particularly cringe-inducing low during Munro’s stay in the United States, where the cash-poor cyclist is aided in ridiculously generous ways by a magical Negro transvestite, a car salesman, a horny widow, a medically adept Native American, and his fellow racers. All the world’s in love with the guy, but, well, you will be, too. Hopkins carries himself with a careful balance of old-man creakiness and ageless-rebel spryness, and you can see his Munro processing things he’s unfamiliar with as he’s first stymied, then asks questions, then figures it out better than anyone else. It’s truly touching when Munro quietly first sets foot on the flats that he regards as “holy ground,” and Donaldson—who also made a 1971 documentary about Munro, Offerings to the God of Speed—has the good sense not to overdo at least that twilit moment. (A scene or two later, he even undercuts it by having Munro, whose enlarged prostate is something of a running gag, urinate on the sacred salt.) The joy Munro expresses when he finally gets to race is matched by exuberant shots of the old coot’s streamlined red bike slipping between white salt flat and blue Utah sky as if it were a plane. If that sounds like enough to compensate for The World’s Fastest Indian’s flaws, then Bob’s your uncle. —Tricia Olszewski