Gran Turismo – A Simulation of a Video Game

Gran Turismo movie

Neill Blomkamp’s take on a real-life gamer who became a racer.

In 1997, a new game released for the first Playstation revolutionized racing games forever. The name of the game is Gran Turismo. No racing game beforehand has been as realistic as that one. The graphics depicted real cars and tracks like no other game before, the gameplay was the smoothest ever in a racing game, and you could spend hours buying auto parts and getting your car ready for the next race. It blew everyone’s mind at the time. A simulation like that was unimaginable to gamers. The video game industry was saturated with mediocre racing games. 

Fast Forward to this year, and the general public couldn’t believe something. Real-life events inspired the movie GT, about a gamer who became a racing professional. Jann Mardenborough, the aforementioned “sim racer” who became a real racer, is the protagonist of the latest film by Neill Blomkamp. Archie Madekwe (not-so-feel-good movies from Ari Aster Midsommar and Beau Is Afraid) looks like his real-life counterpart and is believable as the shy young dreamer. Accompanied by both David Harbour (everyone’s favorite in Stranger Things) and Orlando Bloom (also everyone’s favorite in Lord of the Rings) bring real-life personalities with their grounded performances. 

When realism and imagination blend together.

What makes this sports movie excellent is the cinematography. Cinematographer Jacques Jouffret (The Purge) provides a slick style that goes well with the luxurious aspect of the racecar scene. With his direction, Neill Blomkamp gives an unreal aspect to the film. A few parts of the film, especially the racing tracks, remind me of a sci-fi movie he should’ve directed. There are also antagonistic racers, notably Nicholas Capa (played by Dutch actor Josha Stradowski), who is not too different from Racer X in Speed Racer. 

Though the two previous paragraphs sound like an oxymoron together, it will make sense when watching the movie. The blend of realism with Blomkast’s cinematic trademarks makes for a fun film to watch. GT has been simulating real-life racing for the past 26 years. Now, there’s a GT movie simulating the video game. 

On the surface, this is just another underdog sports movie. Since the plot is so similar to Rocky, I imagined the race kid getting out of his car and shouting, “Adriaaaan.” Nonetheless, its crowd is going to be pleased. Unlike other “based on a true story” movies, Gran Turismo is a video game movie. 

Gran Turismo is still in theaters, or you can watch it at home on your favorite streaming service.

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