Note: This is the first chapter in an ongoing series highlighting car movies that we dig.
Amazon Prime can be a blessing or a curse with its recommendations based on my previous viewings. The curse being if someone is watching Prime under my user profile and they think it might be a good idea for me to watch anything with Adam Sandler because my wife watched “Grandma’s Boy”.
The blessing is when I enjoyed “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans” and it thought I might like “Love The Beast”.
With no preconceived notions, it’s a ‘Dave Thing’ to avoid movie reviews, I sat down and thoroughly dug “Love The Beast”.
The 2009 documentary is Eric Bana’s directorial debut and the love story between him and his 1974 Ford Falcon XB coupe.
I always associated Australian actor Eric Bana as Bruce Banner from the forgettable “Hulk” (2003) or as Avner from one of my favorites, “Munich”. I consider him a good actor, not Daniel Day-Lewis but definitely solid.
I was unfamiliar with his love of cars and racing. This was a good thing to learn and broadened my perceptions about him.
Bana bought the Falcon as a teenager and the perpetual project car was a means to get him and his buddies together to restore it. A young “Mad Max” fan bought the same type of car from the Mel Gibson movie and it was dubbed “The Beast”.
“When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a race car driver,” Bana said in the film. “If it had wheels and an engine, I wanted to drive it. Cars to me were what you lived for. There was nothing else. As I got older, fate, luck, and circumstance had other ideas.”
In 1996, after a long restoration, he drove it in the Targa Tasmania and promised that he would be there again. Bana would drive the rally 11-years later with a highly-modified “Beast” that was dolled up by professionals and not by his buddies.
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Bana explores the higher meaning of cars, beyond a means of transportation, and how they have a certain spirit and can bring people together. The restoration and maintenance of a car has replaced the camp fire as a means of getting people together.
This theme is further explored when Bana interviews Dr. Phil and Jay Leno. Jeremy Clarkson is also interviewed and gives his off the cuff take that one can have a true, living relationship with a car.
Having a relationship with your car is the underlining theme of “Love The Beast”. Bana has penned the proper love letter to his mistress, The Beast.
She is merciless and demanding but she loves him too. This is a relationship that we can all relate to and would never change.