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The McLaren film: Top Gear’s review

“If you really like to geek out on motorsport, it’s arguably better than Senna”

The wait is over. This week, you can finally watch McLaren, the latest in a run of motorsport films that have made it to the mainstream.

Top Gear’s had a sneak preview, and without spoiling anything, we can tell you it’s brilliant. It’s nerdier than Senna, and a bit of background knowledge on Bruce – or of motorsport in general – will make it more rewarding to watch. But that’s something you can also catch up on once you’ve seen it. In fact, we suspect you’ll actively want to find out more. It’s a fascinating story.

And it’s a fascinating film. Director Roger Donaldson and producers Matthew Metcalfe and Fraser Brown faced a tough task; Bruce was killed at 32, just as he was really becoming a household name, so period footage didn’t exist in the way it did for those making Senna. Donaldson and Metcalfe’s solutions are inspired, though; there’s even animation involved.

There are plenty of motorsport personalities speaking in the film - Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart among them - and their stories of danger and derring-do are astonishing. Any insight into 1950s, ‘60s or ‘70s motorsport is always jaw-dropping, particularly regarding drivers’ almost blatant disregard of the peril they faced. McLaren is no different.

Far from hinging around Bruce’s sad passing, the film focuses on his dramatic back story and the latent potential of his team. As well as being a talented driver, Bruce was a mechanical genius. You’ll reach the end of the film mourning not just the man, but his latent potential that was never properly fulfilled.

If you really like to geek out on motorsport, it’s arguably better than Senna. Even if you don’t, it’s a very worthy addition to the growing collection of films devoted to the most glamorous sport on Earth.

Don’t want to miss it? McLaren is in UK cinemas for one night only on Thursday May 25, and on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital download from Monday May 29.

Want to know more? Click here for some insight into the film from producer Matthew Metcalfe. He’s a proud New Zealander, just like Bruce…

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