Film re­view

TV3’s movie ex­pert Kate Rodger learns the in­side story of a Kiwi mo­tor-rac­ing le­gend and con­tin­ues her love af­fair with an Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal drama.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - ON SCREEN - McLaren Di­rected by Roger Don­ald­son.

Doc­u­ment­ing the his­tory of this great lit­tle na­tion of ours should be a pre­rog­a­tive, so what a gift to have one of our most suc­cess­ful film­mak­ers craft the true story of one of our great­est sports­men. Bruce McLaren died in 1970 at just 32 years of age, an in­ter­na­tional mo­tor-rac­ing icon. I knew of his story of course, like so many of us do. But to have it told by the men on that jour­ney with him and by the woman at his side, as well as through the lens of rac­ing en­thu­si­ast and film di­rec­tor Roger Don­ald­son, is a last­ing legacy for gen­er­a­tions of Ki­wis.

The McLaren For­mula One Rac­ing Team is sec­ond only to Fer­rari as the most suc­cess­ful F1 team in the his­tory of the sport. The man who cre­ated it was born in Auck­land, went to Mead­ow­bank Pri­mary School and would be­come the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of Kiwi can-do.

To tell the McLaren story, Don­ald­son em­barked on a two-year-long global hunt for archival footage, un­earthing some cin­e­matic trea­sures in the process.

But it’s the interviews that form the lifeblood of Don­ald­son’s telling: life­long friends of the McLaren fam­ily, Colin Bean­land and the late Phil Kerr, along with fel­low Ki­wis Wally Will­mott and Alis­tair Cald­well – they’re all magic.

This is a per­sonal story, but Don­ald­son serves mo­tor-rac­ing fans ad­di­tional interviews with the likes of Chris Amon, Mario An­dretti and Dan Gur­ney, the film glued to­gether with Bruce’s words as nar­ra­tion – from ar­chive, interviews and his let­ters and tapes sent home to fam­ily.

And then of course, his late wife Patty. For­mer Miss Caro­line Bay in Ti­maru and the love of Bruce McLaren’s short life, she died dur­ing the mak­ing of the film. The ju­di­cious and em­pa­thetic use of her interviews gives an in­ti­mate in­sight into the man be­hind the wheel, and are of course in­cred­i­bly emo­tional to watch.

But it comes down to McLaren’s old­est mates to break our hearts. Fill­ing in all the gaps be­tween the race wins and losses, the build­ing of the McLaren cars, the brand, and ul­ti­mately the team and the le­gend McLaren is today, these men pay a mov­ing trib­ute to the friend they loved the best way they know how, by telling his life story sim­ply, with hu­mour, a typ­i­cally un­der­stated Kiwi pas­sion, and then, ul­ti­mately, with their hearts and their tears.

There won’t be a dry eye in the house – McLaren is a won­der­ful watch, a must-see for all New Zealan­ders re­gard­less of how much petrol runs through their veins.

There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

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