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Gran Turismo (2023)

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

Rated: PG-13 | Run Time: 2h 14min | Released: Aug 25, 2023 | Rating: 7.2/10

Parental Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned, Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13


Gran Turismo (2023) is a American biographical sports drama film directed by Neill Blomkamp from a screenplay by Jason Hall and Zach Baylin. Produced by Columbia Pictures, PlayStation Productions, and 2.0 Entertainment, it is based on the racing simulation video game series of the same name developed by Polyphony Digital. It tells the true story of Jann Mardenborough, a teenage Gran Turismo player who became a professional racing car driver. The film stars Archie Madekwe as Mardenborough alongside David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet, Geri Halliwell Horner, and Djimon Hounsou.


Development of a film based on Gran Turismo was revealed in July 2013, with Michael De Lucaand Dana Brunetti producing and a script by Alex Tse. Joseph Kosinski was set to direct the film in June 2015 from a new screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber. However, the Kosinski version was no longer moving forward as of February 2018. In May 2022, it was announced the film was again in development, with Blomkamp attached to direct it in June. The main cast were announced in September 2022, while other cast additions signed in November. Filming began in Hungary in the same month and wrapped in December. The film score was composed by Lorne Balfe and Andrew Kawczynski.


Gran Turismo premiered at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on July 30, 2023, and was theatrically released in the United States on August 25, 2023, by Sony Pictures Releasing. It has grossed $119 million worldwide against its $60 million budget and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Blomkamp's direction and racing sequences, but criticized its writing. The film generated controversy for its usage of Mardenborough's 2015 crash at the Nürburgring Nordschleife as a narrative element.


Plot

Following a pitch by marketing executive Danny Moore, Nismo, the motorsport division of Nissan establishes the GT Academy to recruit skilled players of the racing simulator Gran Turismo and turn them into real racing drivers. Danny recruits former driver-turned-mechanic Jack Salter to train the players. Jack is initially hesitant but accepts after tiring of the arrogance of his team's driver, Nicholas Capa. Meanwhile, Jann Mardenborough, a teenage clothing store employee and gamer from Cardiff, Wales, is an avid player of the simulator and wants to become a racing driver, despite the disapproval of his former footballer father Steve Mardenborough.


One day, Jann learns he is eligible for a qualification race to join the GT Academy after setting a time record for a particular track. The night before his race, Jann is invited by his brother Coby to a party, and the brothers take their father's car. Jann flirts with a young woman named Audrey whom he develops a crush on. The gathering is disbanded after police arrive, and Jann initiates a pursuit after driving away when their friends are pulled over. The brothers escape but are caught returning by their father. Jann is taken to his father's place of employment the next morning in an attempt to be taught a life lesson, but leaves early to partake in the qualifying race, which he wins, earning a place in GT Academy.


At the academy camp, Jack puts the competitors through their paces in various tests, through which ten competitors are narrowed down to five. During one of which, Jann crashes with Jack in the car and claims the brakes were glazed, later proven correct by analysts, to Jack's surprise. The remaining five compete in a final race to determine who will represent Nissan. Jann narrowly wins the race against American competitor Matty Davis, but Danny insists Matty should be chosen as the representative due to his better commercial viability. However, Jann is chosen at Jack's insistence.


Jann is told that if he finishes at least fourth in any one of a series of qualifying races, he will earn a professional licence and contract with Nissan. He finishes last in his first professional race in Austria after Nicholas taps him into a spin, and despite gradually improving over the next few races, he does not finish the penultimate race in Spain. He travels to Dubai for his last qualifying race, during which Nicholas takes a corner too fast and crashes. Despite the debris from this crash cracking his windshield, Jann achieves a fourth-place finish and earns his license. He then travels to Tokyo with Danny and Jack to sign his contract, and uses his signing bonus to fly Audrey to Tokyo. During this time, they initiate a relationship.

Jann's first race after signing is at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. He starts the race well and maintains a high position until the front of his car lifts into the air at the Flugplatz corner, hitting a barrier and launching into a crowded spectator area. Jann is airlifted to the Nürburgring Medical Center and is informed while in hospital that a spectator was killed in the crash, much to his horror. Reluctant to return to racing and blaming himself for the spectator's death, Jack takes him back to the Nürburgring, during which he reveals he was involved in a fatal accident at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which led to a fellow driver dying and his retirement from driving. An inquiry clears Jann of any wrongdoing, but professional sentiment begins to turn against sim drivers. In response, Danny decides a sim driver team should compete at Le Mans and finish on the podium to prove their viability.


Danny enlists Matty and fellow GT Academy participant Antonio Cruz to make up the three-driver team alongside Jann. On race day, Jann's father apologizes for not initially being supportive of his passions. Early in the race, Jann is left shaken after Frederik Schulin’s car crashes and catches fire, but is encouraged through his first shift by Jack playing "Songbird" and "Orinoco Flow" through the car's communication system, which Jann had previously used as motivational music during training. Matty and Antonio complete their first shifts without issue, but the latter is brought in from his last session early due to experiencing cramps. A wheel nut is dropped by mechanic Felix during the pit stop, causing Jann to lose several positions. He deviates from advised racing lines he learned from playing Gran Turismo to regain his positions, breaking the competition lap record in the process. The final lap sees Jann pitted against Nicholas, with Jann once again narrowly in front on the final straight to earn third place and a podium finish for Nissan.


In the epilogue, the real Jann Mardenborough is shown having competed in over 200 races and served as his own stunt double in the film.


Cast

Directed by: #NeillBlomkamp

Screenplay by:

Story by:

Based on: #GranTurismo by #PolyphonyDigital

Produced by:

Starring:

Cinematography: #JacquesJouffret

Edited by:

Music by:

Production Companies:

Distributed by: #SonyPicturesReleasing

Release dates:

  • July 30, 2023 (Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps)

  • August 25, 2023 (United States)

Running time: 134 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Budget: $60 million


 

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