“I’m sorry. Do you really think you’re going to take a kid who plays video games in their bedroom, and you’re going to strap them to a two-hundred-mile-an-hour rocket? It’ll tear them to pieces.”
That is what Jack Salter said, and frankly, I agree. It would be ludicrous if someone attempted this in real life, right? Well, you’re right, but someone still did it.
This movie is based on a real-life story about Jann Mardenborough, a 32-year-old British Motorsport racing driver. He had no previous motorsport experience when he got signed; he had only played sim racing video games. He currently has four fastest laps and three podiums, one of which is on the 24-hour Le Mans Track, one of the most demanding tracks.
Gran Turismo was released on the 25th of August 2023, making it a fairly recent movie. It had a budget of 60 Million USD and generated Box Office 112 Million USD. It currently has 65% Rotten Tomatoes and is rated 7.2/10 on IMDb
Neill Blomkamp, a South African-Canadian film director and a screenwriter, he directed the movie. He has directed movies such as ‘District 9’ for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and his work ‘Elysium.’ which had a LOT of positive reviews.
Storyline (Summarized, Major Spoilers!)
Jann Mardenborough is a teenager who lives in Cardiff, Wales. His main hobby consisted of playing Gran Turismo. It was his escape from reality, and he was surprisingly extremely good at it, being one of the world’s top players. While Jann is playing Gran Turismo in Tokyo, Danny Moore, marketing executive for Nissan, is pitching an idea of “GT Academy” to Nismo—Nissan’s motorsport division. GT Academy aimed to turn the best Gran Turismo players into real-life racing drivers. This pitch was accepted and backed by Nismo.
Insert one of the best characters in the show, Jack Salter. Jack Salter, an ex-driver turned mechanic who worked for Nicholas Capa as a mechanic, was approached by Danny Moore. Moore explained his idea to Salter, who shut it down immediately. But after convincing, Salter agreed to be a mentor for the rookies.
After everything was set up, Moore sent Jann and other top players of GT an E-mail inviting them to the GT competition. The top racer would secure a spot in the GT Academy and have a chance to become a real race car driver. After almost not making it in time for the online game competition, he successfully reaches and aces the challenge, earning a spot in the GT Academy.
Car Lineup Shot
Here comes Jann’s first Rival, Matty Davis. There were ten players in the GT Academy, and only one would emerge victorious enough to become a driver. The competition was tough. Matty and Jann had a zero-point one-second gap in the final, deciding race. While Moore was convinced to take on Matty because of his good media presence, Salter stood by Jann since he saw potential in him. Making Jann successful in passing the GT Academy Training Camp.
Surviving the horrors of Training Academy, the horrors of the natural world came. Jann finds himself competing with the arrogant Nicholas Capa, a wealthy player convinced wealth equals being a good driver (and of course he drives for Lamborghini) . Jack, initially skeptical of Jann and calling him a “keyboard warrior,” now heavily mentors him, urging him to become the best he can be.
During one of the races, Jann faces a terrifying crash. Leaving him in the hospital and terrified to get back on track. This is when Salter reassures him, telling him about his past. How Salter got into a crash and never got back onto the track. And the fact that he wonders how great he could’ve been if he did. This motivates Jann to get back into racing.
The final race is 24 hours long, with three drivers on the Le Man’s Track. The other two drivers were part of the GT Academy, who got second and third place after Jann. One of them being Matty Davis. Matty Davis and Jann reconciled and competed in Le Man’s together.
Capa got taken out in this race, leaving Jann and his two teammates on the podium. Hence, proving to all his haters that Jann is a professional racing driver and not just a ‘Keyboard Warrior’ as some would say.
Podium for Le Man’s
Actors and Characters
Now that we know a little bit about the real Jann Mardenborough, let’s talk about his actor and the other main actors in the film. Jann Mardenborough was played by Archie Madekwe, a British actor who also appears in movies and shows such as the highly discussed (or criticized) ‘Saltburn,’ ‘Midsommar,’ ‘Love Death Robots’ and ‘See.’
We also have Orlando Bloom and David Harbour in this movie! Orlando Bloom plays Danny Moore, who initiated the GT Academy and was in control of everything—making him an important character to set up the story. Alongside him, David Harbour played Jack Salter, the engineer, and assumed the ‘mentor’ role for Jann in the movie. Orlando Bloom has worked on other famous sets, such as Pirates of the Caribbean. David Harbour is renowned for his role in Stranger Things.
The two last people I have to mention are Jann’s opponents. Matty Davis and Nicholas Cape are played by Famous ‘Never Have I Ever’ Actor Darren Barnet and Dutch actor Joshua Stradowski.
Direction, Storytelling, and Cinematography.
This one is for all the film nerds. (Includes me, yes)
Blomkamp had a particular action vision for this movie; he made it fast-paced to keep the tension and uncertainty of what could happen. This was done through the camerawork. There was a different type of camerawork, only achievable with a car; the camera was made to be an extension of the car, giving a more lively feeling to the races, such as the Nürburgring crash sequence, where the camera was set to the passenger seat to make the already gut-wrenching experience even more gut-wrenching.
Car Crash Sequence
Alongside that, the color contrast and the expression given by the color build the story’s mood. The storytelling was good as well, although it lacked a bit. In my opinion, the most well-built part of the story was the character development of all characters, especially Jann and Jack, how their mentorship evolved, and the development between the GT Academy trainees.
Extra mentions : Errors
Orlando Bloom crashed crashed one of the GT-R’s while testing a cut post-credits scene, because he wanted a driving scene in the movie. Clearly, he couldn’t score one. Haha.
While the film is set around 2011-2012, there are things that don’t quite align with that timeframe. For instance, the PlayStation 5, which was in the movie wasn’t released until 2020, Gran Turismo 7, the game Jann played was launched in 2022, and the climactic accident at the Nürburgring Nordschleife didn’t happen until 2015.
Honorable Siren Mention :
The emergency vehicle’s sound at Nürburgring, Germany is actually of the emergency vehicles in the US/UK.
Personally, as someone who loves race-car driving and just cars in general, this was quite a good movie. It lacked interest-building in the first majority of the movie which is a downside, but later on the movie gets better. Some races were un-needed and boring, but the others were thrilling. But the end was quite heartwarming.
Other movies like Gran Turismo
If you liked Gran Turismo, there’s a few other movies which are like it :
- My personal favorite ‘Rush‘ rated 8.1/10 on IMDb.
- ‘Schumacher’ is one of them, its rated 7.1/10.
- ‘Le Mans’ rated 6.7/10.
- ‘Senna’ with an 8.5/10.
‘Rush’ – Another movie
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