I should state up front that this isn’t a real movie. It’s a documentary, directed by and starring Eric Bana (above, right) and his Ford Falcon Coup. You know who Eric Bana is from his role as the jerkwad husband in Funny People. You know who the Ford Falcon Coup is from its role as the last of the V8 Interceptors in Mad Max and The Road Warrior.
Bana got the car as a beater when he was a kid and he ends up pouring his movie-star money into it and then racing it in a 5-day endurance rally in Tasmania. Twice. Bana doesn’t come out looking very good in Love the Beast. Spoiled, privileged, a bit full of himself. But the cool thing about this documentary is that it’s not about Bana and it’s not even necessarily about the car. It’s about his attachment to the car.
And because Bana is a movie star, he draws some Hollywood into his little documentary. He gets into Jay Leno’s obscene inner car sanctum. He subjects himself to a therapy session with Dr. Phil. And he refrains from punching Jeremy Clarkson in the face when Clarkson says, “All muscle cars are crap”.
The best parts of Love the Beast are the parts that reminded me of Shift 2 or Dirt 2, including footage of Bana and his navigator tearing through pastoral Tasmanian scenery in a gorgeous 70s muscle car. I don’t know enough about racing to watch an actual race — I mean, really, how dull would that be? — but I know enough about caRPGs to understand a man’s attachment to a car. I can relate when Bana interviews a driver who talks about the primal need to pass a car that has just passed you. And I can certainly appreciate a little 70s muscle car porn. So hot. I don’t think Bana has ever had a more attractive co-star.
Love the Beast is available on Netflix (instant watch here).