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Gran Turismo (PG-13) ★★★

By February 4, 2024February 7th, 2024Backstage Pass

Jann Mardenborough played by (Archie Madekwe), and Jack Salter (David Harbour).

Here’s a tale of a British teen, Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), whose excellent gaming skills with PlayStation’s Gran Turismo landed him in a professional racecar competition. The title says it all, although the film should probably be named based on the hard-to-believe true story. In the hands of the excellent director Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”), he pieces together the facts by introducing us to a racing driver, Jack Salter (David Harbour of “Stranger Things”). Salter has had his own share of troubles with racing, which comes out later in the story, although he uses his experience in such a way that guides Jann through his nail-biting race.

Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) is the executive who had the idea for Nissan to sponsor a contest among the best simulator drivers in the world for the chance to compete in a real race; the risks and liability are overwhelming. During a lengthy racing academy experience, he found the best of the best, a gamer who came from a working-class family, Jann, who really only wants to become an actual driver, notwithstanding pleas from his father (Djimon Hounsou). However, his mom (Spice Girl Geri Halliwell Horner) hopes he’d want to do something more practical and safer.

Viewing the film’s race scenes is my favorite part. They are riveting and realistic, sometimes more of a shock and awe aspect, although we learn what it takes mentally to be a winner in the sport.

I enjoyed the inspirational guidance of Salter as he guided the young, inexperienced driver to trust his instincts and believe in himself. Yes, the story is somewhat predictable, although the racing scenes are actually fun to watch. You can’t help but root for Jann as he’s living the dream of a lifetime by actually competing in a race against other racecar adult drivers.

Sarah Knight Adamson© February 4, 2024