Ford Falcon Coupe Soars in Eric Bana’s Love the Beast Documentary
If you recognize the name Eric Bana, you’ve probably seen the notorious 2003 movie Hulk by Ang Lee–or are familiar with his other works like Black Hawk Down, The Time Traveler’s Wife, or the Star Trek reboot. But there’s a lot more to the Australian comedian-turned-actor than most people realize.
Unless you’re a devoted fan of Bana’s, you probably don’t know about his obsession with cars–one car, specifically: a Ford XB Falcon Coupe that he lovingly calls “The Beast.”
Consequently, Eric Bana merged his love of muscle cars and cinema in a 2009 documentary titled Love the Beast, which he directed and starred in. If you’re a classic muscle car enthusiast or a fan of circuit races, it’s worth watch.
Summary of Eric Bana’s Documentary Love the Beast
“When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a race car driver,” says Bana at the opening of the film. “If it had wheels and an engine, I wanted to drive it. Cars to me were what you lived for. There was nothing else. As I got older, fate, luck, and circumstance had other ideas.”
Growing up around muscle cars, seeing the heydays of the Bathurst 1000, and watching Mad Max, Eric Bana fell in love with the Falcon Coupe before he knew how to drive. When he was old enough, he received a run-down 1974 Falcon Coupe hardtop (which he calls “The Beast”) from his father, which he rebuilt with his friends.
Love the Beast is about Bana’s 25-year relationship with his beloved car, like a well-polished video of a country boy showing off his truck. It also chronicles his ventures into the Target Tasmania circuit races, and the crossroads he encounters when he’s faced with the muscle car’s true nature. The final product is presented much like an autobiography.
Throughout the film, he meets up with a number of kindred spirits, including Jay Leno, Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, and Dr. Phil McGraw.
Review of Love the Beast
Bana’s documentary is halfway between labor of love and vanity project. He shares a number of personal moments from his life, developing a down-to-earth image of vulnerability–but the film doesn’t offer enough real insight for the audience to feel engaged.
The movie contains a mix of home footage, interviews, and narration, but it relies too heavily on extended sequences of Bana’s races to pad the film’s running time. It also suffers from a lack of momentum, as it keeps retreading the same themes and situations.
It’s a likable endeavor, but it won’t leave viewers outside of its niche very thrilled.