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The World's Fastest Indian

Anthony Hopkins lends style points to any movie in which he appears. Roger Donaldson's real-life tale about an eccentric fellow New Zealander, who fulfilled a lifelong dream in 1963 by racing his ancient Indian motorcycle across Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, is a case in point. Donaldson (Thirteen Days, Dante's Peak) bathes his aging, decrepit hero, Burt Munro, in a kind of fairy-tale light, but once Hopkins hits the road from Los Angeles to Utah, the director turns this quirky, single-minded idealist into something special, a wholly likable striver whose dignity and dream we want to embrace too. That's Chris Williams as the transvestite motel clerk and Diane Ladd as the salty widow who knows her way around a welding torch. For Hopkins, the charming, perfectly detailed performance he puts in here will likely land in the second rank of a formidable canon that includes The Silence of the Lambs and The Remains of the Day. But for him, even mediocrity can be terrific.

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