Honestly, I had the best movie-going experience seeing this movie in theatres. I saw this movie by myself in the middle of an almost empty theatre. I laughed, cried, and had all the space in the world, it felt like a true VIP experience. However, I do wish I had seen this movie in IMAX, I wanted it to be louder and more immersive, but that could have just been the theatre I was in. I think if the sounds of the cars were louder it would have felt more like you are there and a part of the action.
This was a very well-cast movie, I was excited to see Orlando Bloom, David Harbour, and Darren Barnett in a movie together. I had never seen Archie Madekwe who plays Jann in anything before, I thought he was very well cast in this role, especially given his looks are very similar to the real-life Jann Mardenborough. I really liked Djimon Hounsou as Jann’s dad, I wanted there to be more screen time for this dynamic between Jann and his dad. When his dad reflects on the way he has supported or rather not supported his son and admits he’s been wrong, it’s a very touching moment. This was probably one of my favourite scenes in the whole film. I loved David Harbour’s character, Jack Salter’s story arc and how in the beginning he has no faith in the program and by the end, he’s built a strong connection with Jann. I think he steps in to be his father figure, someone to support him at a time when he needs it the most. It's really sweet how he sees so much of himself in Jann.
I loved the attention to detail like the soccer team sticker he places on his helmet as a nod to his dad. I also loved that he listened to Kenny G before a race to calm him down. That was very relatable for me as a softball player, I always listen to music before a game, either hype music to get excited or calming music to settle my nerves.
The crash was a very interesting and dark thing that Jann has to go through, I think this really added layers to his character. When he wakes up, he really doesn’t care about his own well-being, he only asks if anyone else is hurt. The weight of this kind of death on such a young person is traumatic and heartbreaking to watch unfold on screen. He overcomes that fear and trauma in a very inspiring ending, by making the podium in Le Mans.
I wish they gave a little more screen time to the other characters in the academy. I thought there were a few characters that had the potential to be interesting who just didn’t get their moment in the film. I felt like the pacing was really off in this film, that’s the only thing that stood out to me that I was not happy about. I loved the racing scenes, they were very authentic to what you see on TV, but also feel like you are in the car with him, you want him to succeed and you’re rooting for him. This film is definitely a look into the world of racing, it really shows how elitist this sport can be, how tough it is, and the barriers that people face trying to get into it. That’s why I really liked the different dynamics between him and the other big-shot racers and those who come from money.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film and my theatre-going experience. I’d recommend catching this one before it's out of theatres. It wasn’t as good as I think it had the potential to be but I really enjoyed it and had a good time. I think this is a great film for people who’ve played the game and for people who have never played the game. There is something in this for everyone.