“McLaren” shines a spotlight on a renaissance man with a singular focus

The old saying goes “jack of all trades but a master of none” but Bruce McLaren proves that saying isn’t always true. “McLaren” follows the story of a plucky young Kiwi who overcame extreme physical hardship early in life to become the man to beat in Can Am racing, sports car racing, and Formula 1.
The film “McLaren” (directed by Roger Donaldson, who also directed films about fellow speedy Kiwi, Burt Munro) conveys the highs, the lows, the ecstasy of winning, and the crushing disappointment of defeat masterfully, blending archival footage with interviews with the people who knew Bruce best, and interspersed with reenactments of Bruce’s early life and rise to prominence in the New Zealand racing world.

Viscerally, this film does a fantastic job of capturing the feel of what a motor race in the 60s felt like, both from the driver’s seat and from behind the protective hay bales of the spectator’s area. If you can see “McLaren” in a theater I highly recommend it. As beautifully composed as the shots are the sound is what enraptures you, giving you the sense of the frenetic pace of these wonderfully built machines.
Coming into this film I didn’t fully understand what I was about to see. As an avid Formula 1 fan and a lifelong fan of Colin Chapman’s Team Lotus I had heard bits and pieces of the history of McLaren but never knew of the hardships Bruce and his men had to overcome to achieve the success that they did. His sheer dedication to winning shown through in every new venture he started.
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