Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Based on the unbelievable, inspiring true story of a team of underdogs - a struggling, working-class gamer, a failed former race car driver, and an idealistic motorsport exec - who risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world.
After seeing this trailer 746 times in the theater, my brain was wired to be “anti-Gran Turismo” going into this screening. Not only did this experience surprise me, but it turned out to be one of the more enjoyable theatrical experiences of the summer. Archie Madekwe‘s Jann is a compelling character, and this idea of this story being something that actually happened makes him that much more likable. As knowledgeable as he is at this video game, it is impressive to see these skills being put to the test when he gets in an actual car. Taking what he is able to do at the beginning of the film and applying that to this real-life scenario is fascinating, even if his parents aren’t excited about it. The family relationship is an integral part of this story, but it is one that does get lost at times. There is another relationship that becomes prominent at a point, and it gives Jann a bit more to do beyond the track, but this also disappears at a point. The focus being on the racing itself and his rise to stardom is the right move, but this script occasionally gets off track (pun game strong).
Even with the familiarity and occasionally on-the-nose product placement, this movie is too thrilling to not enjoy. Neill Blomkamp gives the racing sequences a bit more style than expected, and even if you know the outcome, there is enough to keep you on edge. The story is just so good that it would have been difficult to completely botch his journey, but the dialogue never brings it down. Do the characters fall into conventional traps? Sure, but the experience never suffers due to any of these nitpicks. David Harbour adds so much to this film, from their dynamic to his character’s interesting backstory. The chemistry between the two is excellent, and their scenes work well. All in all, Gran Turismo is a win, especially in the month of August. Due to the visual impact of the racing sequences and stunning sound design, this warrants a trip to the theater.