Essentially a love story about a boy and his car, Eric Bana documents his life-long romance with his 1970s muscle car in this warm, enjoyable film.
Although more energy and humour might have made it more engaging.
Since growing up in suburban Melbourne, two things in Eric's life haven't changed: his mates and his car. He bought the Ford Falcon as a teen and rebuilt it over the years with his pals Tony, Jack and Temps, eventually racing it in the Targa Tasmania five-day rally in 1996. Now the plan is to have one last race and, after completely rebuilding it again, they head back to Tasmania. But the event forces Eric to look at what he really feels about the car.
Bana clearly takes all of this very seriously and expects us to as well. From the nostalgic home movies and stills, we see that Bana thinks of his Falcon as a member of the family. So of course he brings his parents Ivan and Ellen and his wife Rebecca into the film, as well as his dad's vintage T-bird, which he treats almost like a big brother.
This humourless approach is the film's biggest surprise because Bana started his career as a stand-up, and Aussies are known for their raucous irreverence.
But this film is awash in emotive touches, from a mournful orchestral score to earnest narration. It only touches on real life when he and his pal Tony go off script and tease each other. And then there are the celebrity guests: Clarkson, Leno and Dr Phil aren't exactly the most cutting-edge voices out there.
At least they have relevant things to say; Clarkson is a car guru, while Leno has an astoundingly huge car collection. Dr Phil is on hand to talk about the feelings we get from owning and driving a car, as well as the trickiness of balancing work, family and a passion for race driving. Car lovers will enjoy all of this, but the film is only actually interesting when it almost accidentally reveals the depth of Bana's obsession. And the way he so intricately shoots and edits this film makes it clear that driving is his first love.