Love The Beast Review

Love The Beast Review
Cast: Eric Bana, Jay Leno, Jeremy Clarkson, Dr. Phil
Director: Eric Bana
Screenplay: Eric Bana
Genre: Documentary/ Narrative Feature Film
Rated: M Coarse Language
Released: 15 Mar 2009
Running Time: 92 Minutes

25 Years Of Love Can't Be Wrong

Eric Bana casts himself in his perfect role: exploring the meaning of a 25-year-long relationship with his first car, "The Beast", and ultimately the importance of the bonds that form through a common passion. Filmed over 2 years, we follow Eric on an - unexpectedly - emotional journey from inside the race car to the surreal world of the red carpet as Eric considers the importance of family, friends and what it means to keep your dreams alive. Love The Beast is as full of heart and the defining moments in life as it is about driving fast....really fast.

My Verdict:
Eric Bana is well known for many roles on television and in films, including Full Frontal (1993-96), Chopper (2000), and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). When he was growing up in the suburbs of Melbourne, Eric saw the film Mad Max (1979) starring Mel Gibson and he knew then this was the ultimate combination - acting and a Ford XB Falcon Coupe. Love The Beast is Bana's story of how he has realised those two loves and shows his passion for his car, for racing his car, his mates, his family and the relationships they all have.

Eric Bana loves his beast. His beast is his car, a 1974 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe. This car was Bana's first car that he ever bought, and he still has it some 25 years later... not many can make that sort of claim especially when you consider some of its history. Love The Beast however, is no ordinary self-indulgent documentary about motor sport by some A-list actor who collects cars and houses them as museum (and ego) displays.

Bana uses archival footage and still shots from his childhood and laces them with anecdotes about how his love for his car developed and his desire to race his car, with his parents also getting to have their say about Eric's choices. Along with three childhood friends, the main story is about Bana's involvement in the 2006 Targa Tasmania, a 2000 km competitive stage tarmac rally across Tasmania. Some of the footage shot is an impressive showcase for Tasmania and it truly captures the stark contrast against Bana's acting career, which is covered post-rally in New York by a red-carpet film premiere (for Lucky You), which gives Bana the opportunity to deliver some of his renowned humour. The rally does result in a pivotal moment that is captured by chance (or pure luck) and epitomises the emotional toll taking part in an event like this can produce.

Bana also uses three well-known personalities to help explain and support his passion. Late-night TV host, Jay Leno is the fellow motorcar enthusiast, Jeremy Clarkson from televisions Top Gear critiques Banas choice of car and its specifications and Dr. Phil McGraw is used (unnecessarily?) to explain how a life-long emotional bond can be formed with an inanimate being and how important this association can be.

Love The Beast is an honest and satisfying movie that captures the essence of passion and love for a car and what can happen when they are threatened. It is Australian and proudly so, thankfully without succumbing to too many clich├ęs, with Bana describing his car as a campfire... the perfect excuse to come together with his mates. Backed by an appropriately chosen soundtrack including Powderfinger and INXS, one thing is for certain, Eric Bana really does Love The Beast.

Rating : ****

Christina Bruce


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