I must admit that entering into the cinema for this film I was a bit giddy with excitement. I do have a love of formula one and the story of Niki Lauda and James Hunt is a big reason for this, the story was told to me by my uncle who helped instil the passion and hunger that each driver felt for the sport and exactly what it meant to them. Now remember to watch out for spoilers in this review, but there aren’t many really!
The great thing about this film is that it will have just as big of an impact on both formula one lovers and people who have no idea what formula one even is (it’s incredibly fast car racing by the way). I went with my girlfriend who was rather cautious about seeing the film not knowing the story at all or even anything really about the sport in general, but she left raving about it. It really is fantastic.
What drives the story (sorry for the pun, well, a little sorry) is the superb performances and some breathtaking cinematography that Ron Howard (of Happy Days fame) is known for. Chris Hemsworth is great here. If I’m honest he did grow on me, at the beginning I wasn’t totally convinced but as the story unfolds so does his performance and he really does own it. I tell you what, he has a very clever agent Mr Hemsworth. We have now seen him as the action man in Thor, Avengers Assemble and Red dawn etc and just before he is pigeon holed into only playing these roles he does Rush, good idea Mr Hemsworth and very well done!
Daniel Bruhl is also great as Lauda, the cold, calculating machine like Austrian whose desire to win and knowledge of how to make cars go as quick as possible made him quite the opponent to James Hunt (Hemsworth). Hunt is the playboy whose willingness to put his life on the line makes him the perfect opponent to Lauda. Bruhl does really well showing the inner battle that Lauda obviously had with wanting to be the best but being clinical with it, not reckless and it is fascinating to watch. Also the battle he has to recover after the accident (another stunning moment) is shown beautifully, you can really feel how much every breath hurts him and how desperate he is to get back to racing, if nothing more than to beat Hunt.
The real winner in this film has to be the cinematography which is nothing short of epic. Some of the camera angles that Ron Howard uses are just stunning and it really throws you right into the story. One shot inside Lauda’s helmet when he put it on literally made me cringe as it was right next to his eye, how did they get a camera there?!
Another example is when it rains on the day of one of The races. Now the cars themselves could fly around the track at speeds of up to 184 mph so when it’s wet you can already get the sense of how much more dangerous these conditions make it. One false move and the car could be sent spinning out of control, like Scrubs when JD left. But Howard doesn’t just want you to use common sense to know the dangers involved, he wants to shows you. Every drop of rain that smashes down on the drivers helmet is felt thanks to the sound and the camera angles. The views the drivers have through their visors also shows just what they have to deal with and it’s breathtaking. During the screening that we were in my girlfriend and I, as well as pretty much everyone else, we’re flinching along with the drivers in anticipation of the corners in the race, it’s bloody gripping to say the least.
Also must mention the music by Hans Zimmer which is also fan bloody tastic. He gets you whipped up into such a frenzy that it makes you teeter on the edge of your seat like Daniel Day Lewis at the Oscars. I loved the whole soundtrack, it does what any great soundtrack should add to the drama and not detract from the subtlety of the story telling, oh yes Mr Zimmer, you’ve done bloody well there.
The message of this film overall was not lost on me. Rising after you fall and trying to be the best at all times, yes indeed, but the main one for me is that having an enemy is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes you better, Hunt and Lauda needed each other, like Neo and Agent Smith, Mario and Wario and countless others. Because there was always someone else pushing them,they could never stop, never go backwards, they had to keep improving. So don’t always look on your enemy as a negative, where would you be without them?
All in all I am going to give this film an 8 out of 10. It really is a brilliant film which you should DEFINITELY see in the cinema if you get a chance, just to have the bejesus knocked out of you by the noise of it if nothing else. I’m off now to find myself an enemy, sure it won’t take long!
All in all, brilliant film, get it watched.