Days of Thunder


I saw ‘Days of Thunder’ yesterday and I was blown away. I know I am seriously deviating from Agoraphobic Reviewer practice here, but I felt it necessary to write a serious review of it. We cannot always jest and joke. Sometimes it is necessary to lay our reputations on the line and venture a heartfelt opinion. With that in mind, here is my review:

‘Days of Thunder’ is a trenchant and timely rumination on the social and occupational pressures facing a young stock car driver. It exposes the hazards that surround this glamorous career, and examines their impact on the lives of those who live and, alas, often die by it. But it tactfully and sensibly (this reviewer thinks) avoids passing overt judgement on the racers, sponsors and motor enthusiasts who are all, ultimately, complicit in the fatalities and casualties to which the sport so regularly gives rise.

Some critics have suggested that the role of Bruce Fastman is Tom Cruise’s most challenging to date. It is hard to disagree. Fastman is a deeply complex individual, who longs for speed and visceral excitement on the track, but who needs reassurance and stability in his domestic life. In one scene Fastman is sitting behind the wheel visibly ecstatic to have triumphed over the competition in an important race. In the next he is curled in his partner’s lap, the very picture of masculine vulnerability. Cruise handles these tonal shifts with aplomb. It is a forceful performance.

It is an unfortunate truism that sports-themed films often feature substandard dialogue. Not so this film. The verbal exchanges are as quick and noisy as anything on the racetrack. Nicole Kidman’s bon mots are really something to behold. She is truly the go-to actress for top-notch repartee in Hollywood at the moment. Aspiring actresses could really learn something from her flawless diction and masterful delivery.

This film belongs to a well-respected tradition of dramas based around the conflicted psyche of the classic American male. Its forebears are ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘The Godfather’ and ‘There Will Be Blood’. It reveals the lies men tell themselves, and the truths that they daily embody in the sweat of their brows and the ache of their sinews. ‘Days of Thunder’ should be on every secondary school syllabus in the country. Someone should put a DVD copy of it in a time capsule so that future generations will know what it was like to be a man living in the twentieth century. I cannot recommend it enough.


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3 Responses to “Days of Thunder”

  1. Banjo Fett Says:

    Not to be mistaken with ‘Bums of Thunder’, in which I play a man obsessed with his own noxious gases.

  2. oldrope Says:

    Or ‘Gays of Thunder’, in which Fett reprises his role, but puts said bum to other uses.

  3. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Or ‘Days of Chunder’, in which Fett eats an unhygienic kebab.

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