Gran Turismo: The BRWC Review

Gran Turismo

Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madakwe) is obsessed with driving. He knows all the ins and outs of every car he’s ever driven and he feels like he could be as good as the professionals. The trouble is that Jann’s experiences outside of his own car have been playing Gran Turismo, the world’s most popular and accurate racing simulator.

Jann’s dad, Steve (Djimon Honsou) thinks he’s wasting his life, but on the other side of the screen there are people who are noticing his efforts and want to help him turn them into a reality.

Gran Turismo is a sports drama and true-life story directed by Neil Blomkamp. An unusual take on what could have been just another video game movie, Gran Turismo takes inspiration from real life and not pixels.

Jann’s life has everything that a young sports hero may want. He has a dream, the drive and the ambition, but he doesn’t have the outlet to get what he really wants. That’s where racing promoter Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) comes in and as with what happened in real life, a group of the best racers from Gran Turismo were invited to compete in order to take on the real thing. However, although the drama may be based on a true story, it feels like it cuts corners.

Starting out by showing Jann’s life, it puts the young teenage audience in the driver’s seat. Jann is exactly everything that they may want to be and he gets everything they may want to have, but there isn’t much else to him. That’s not down to Madakwe’s performance because he’s a likeable screen presence, the trouble is that the script tells the audience so little about him that he becomes a blank slate.

The movie also suffers from having too much and not enough simultaneously as the audience is shown everything that Jann has and what he could achieve, but most of that is shoved into the first half hour.

This unfortunately leads to emotional moments like his connection with his father being glossed over. It’s also worth noting that this is a Sony movie, and unfortunately the corporate sheen is quite obvious, particularly in an otherwise emotional moment with his mentor, Jack Salter (David Harbour) that’s undermined by product placement. Although a unique approach to the video game movie genre, Gran Turismo feels weighed down by the drive of selling power.

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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.


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