MCLAREN | 92 mins | Director Roger Donaldson
Reviewed by Glenn Blomfield
Directed by our very own Kiwi Rodger Donaldson, who also made the great kiwi film about Burt Munro ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’.
From Hollywood back to New Zealand, Rodger Donaldson shows to a have a close heart for telling New Zealand stories about great Kiwi blokes, ordinary guys who make it big from little – humble beginnings, from the garden shed to taking on the world.
McLaren is the story of Bruce McLaren that built one of the most formidable Racing teams in the world, it’s still a famous automobile marquee that has a strong Kiwi connection.
Bruce McLaren is a true legend in motor racing, the guy accomplished so much before his untimely death at the young age at thirty-two. It’s awe-inspiring how McLaren changed the map in car racing, the documentary does a great job covering all his triumphant moments.
McLaren ticks all the right boxes, interviews from those close to him, covering all the accomplishments this great man made, and how he was able to make those around him believe in his vision and follow his dreams.
The documentary is glossy and polished, a mix of styles. Reconstructed scenes with actors, which I noticed, interestingly do not show faces, which was slightly distracting at times. Animation is used, but only in one instance, and when it did felt oddly out of place.
A documentary is a visual medium so there also needs to be inventive ways to show things visually, that’s the challenge this film faces, making a movie without it being stale or inert.
There’s plenty of archive footage, with interviews mixed with panache, that helps the film move along at a fluid pace.
My only gripe is, McLaren lacks the clever design and intrigue of Senna, the documentary film of famed Brazilian F1 race driver, which I feel is a more rounded film.
I bring this up, as it brings me to a point where I felt something was missing. McLaren, that is the personal side of Bruce McLaren, the behind scene stuff that no one talks about, the rascal, the dirt. It would have been nice to see that side of the man.
This is still a very worthy film of watching, there is enough to take in and absorb. I just wanted more of the private side of Bruce McLaren, not just his amazing and incredible achievements.