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  • Writer's pictureTereza Černá

"You get a podium at Le Mans, you live forever" - Gran Turismo review

Tereza's review of a highly anticipated motorsport movie most of this year: Gran Turismo

The "motorsport movie of the year" was, without a doubt, Gran Turismo. The film follows the career of a young sim racing driver, Jann Mardenborough, who wishes to step up into real world racing. Like most racing movies, it replicates real-life events and is based on a real story but also exaggerates simple events to follow the "basic Hollywood storyline formula."

The main message of the film is clear: you should follow your dreams and do what makes you happy - perhaps a message conveyed in 99% of the movies out there. However Gran Turismo is specific in a relatively new concept: sim racers making the switch to actual cars. Jann Mardenborough was one of the first to do so, but in recent years, we have seen more racing drivers emerge from a similar background - for example Cem Bolukbasi, Turkish racing driver who raced for Charouz in Formula 2 two years ago.

What separates this movie from a classic racing ones, however, is the rivalry of the main character. Unlike Rush, where we are met with the intense rivalry of Niki Lauda and James Hunt, or perhaps the single point of view of the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari in late 60s the Le Mans 66 offers, Gran Turismo brings a whole new storyline, capturing the rivalry between the main character and his soul ability. This is shown perfectly in the heartwarming scene at the Flughafen turn on the Nordschleife, where Jann had crashed earlier, taking the life of a spectator. While being convinced that he will not ever race again, solely due to this incident, his mentor Jack - portrayed by the incredible Davis Harbour - has different plans. This scene beautifully shows the audience the inner battle that Jann has with himself. He doubts his abilities. Nevertheless, he finishes the lap he had never finished in the race, in his own pace, in a stunning Porsche GT3 RS - something every Nürburgring fan wishes to do.

Capturing the essence of race tracks is a tricky thing to do in racing movies. For example, in my personal opinion, Le Mans 66 fails to do so. However, Gran Turismo does that perfectly as it shows the reality of the race track. If youre an avid motorsport fan, you'll notice that the Red Bull Ring, Barcelona, and even Le Mans are captured well - in the vibe but also accuracy of corner placement, breaking zones, etc. You can tell that the creators visited and studied these places for the movie. All of this is captured with beautiful shots of the track, including great track battles, which any racing fan will appreciate.

A bit of a stretch is the popularity of the showcased championships. When Jann is competing in a European GT series to obtain his racing license, a level I would compare to the German GTC. In the movie, the grandstands are full of fans, garages look like they do in F1, and drivers are treated as absolute celebrities. That is definitely not the case in the real world, as the majority of drivers of any and all series, excluding F1, get recognized in the public. While I appreciate them bringing light to smaller GT, reality is hardly reflected in this area.

Overall, I would rate the movie with 7.5 out of 10. I really liked it, although the story line and its development was highly predictable. The over-exaggeration of small racing series and their popularity made it very unrealistic compared to the modern world and reality of racing. However, I truly believe that someone who is not an ardent motorsport fan but enjoys racing and cars will definitely enjoy this movie.



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