Gran Turismo movie slammed for ‘tasteless’ depiction of real-life tragedy

Gran Turismo movie slammed for ‘tasteless’ depiction of real-life tragedy
Sony Pictures Releasing

Written by 

Joseph Kime


9th Aug 2023 12:10

The Gran Turismo movie is finally here, even though we were sceptical that it ever would. Of course, the Fast & Furious franchise proves racing movies do well at the box office by typical standards, but a movie based on a racing sim didn't seem to have much promise.

We stand to be proven wrong, with Neill Blomkamp's film instead focussing on the true story of GT fan-turned-pro-racer Jann Mardenborough and taking the underdog story as its own. But fans have got some problems with the way that a real-life tragedy was framed in the film.

Viewers criticise Gran Turismo's presentation of real-life tragedy

Jann Mardenborough, the subject of the Gran Turismo movie, as played by Archie Madekwe.
Click to enlarge

Gran Turismo doesn't just zero in on Mardenborough's story, and also reflects the wider world of racing - but in doing so, it's upset a lot of viewers.

The film has no trouble in showing the audience the accident in which Mardenborough was involved in March 2015 - a crash in Germany that led to the death of a spectator. VGC says the film uses the crash as a turning point for Mardenborough's racing, leading him to take a third-place finish at an event at Le Mans.

The truth of the matter is, that Le Mansrace occurred two years before the accident happened. Mardenborough didn't need someone to die for him to win, and critics have slated the film's presentation of the tragedy.

Critics react to Gran Turismo's framing of Nürburgring tragedy

"Details relating to a tragedy in Mardenborough's life have been re-arranged to give the third act extra welly," says film critic Charlotte O'Sullivan in her review of the film for Evening Standard. She later adds that "suggesting the incident helped propel Jann to greatness is not only false, it's reprehensible."

"While the crash did happen pretty much as depicted, Hall and Baylin's screenplay time-shifts it in order to stage it as a defining, motivating setback on Mardenborough's hero's journey to his Le Mans podium," says Polygon's Oli Welsh. "The actual accident happened years later — arguably a tasteless reframing of a fatal event."

It's not a good look to use needles deaths at the racetrack as fodder for motivation in a movie, and it's even worse to do so in a film that seems to suggest that anyone can be a true champion on the racetrack - as they didn't exactly mention that onlookers would be killed in the process. Yikes.

Joseph Kime
About the author
Joseph Kime
Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.
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