In 1976, an already legendary rivalry was playing out as the world watched. Formula One racing was at its peak and the contest in that fateful year was fierce and unforgiving. Niki Lauda (Bruhl) was a very serious, very clever Austrian driver who was on track ….. yes excuse the pun ….. to retain his Formula One World Championship. His arch rival for many years was fast living, hard drinking British ladies man James Hunt (Hemsworth). And in 1976, Hunt was the only man who was even close to taking the crown from Lauda.
Then fate intervened and during the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, Lauda had an horrific accident and his car crashed into an embankment, spun and burst into flames. Lauda was trapped inside for 90 seconds, on fire and inhaling toxic gases. He was lucky to be alive and yet just 6 weeks later, he was back on the track defending his title.
We are taken back to the start of Lauda and Hunt’s careers, when they both raced Formula 3 hoping they would get discovered, sponsored and shipped off to Formula One. Both came from wealthy families, both were a disappointment to these families for not pursuing more stable, proper careers and both were driven to be the best. But here the similarities end.
Lauda was always a brilliant tactician with an uncanny sense of whatever motor vehicle he was driving. This along with an injection of cash and an indomitable belief in himself led him to be the first of the pair to make it to Formula One. Hunt was spurred on simply by having to watch Lauda have something he did not have.
Along with the racing, there were women and lovers. Hunt married and divorced a model who he barely knew while Lauda married a very ordinary lady whom he adored. There were off track and on track antics. Memorable quotes from both Lauda and Hunt. There were dramas and adventures. But there was always the racing.
And it all lead to that year….. 1976.
I was keen to see this one but went into the preview expecting not a great deal. I have to admit my knowledge of Formula One was limited to Michael Schumacher and those tacky Eccelstone heiress’ from England. I was vaguely aware of 2 old Formula One drivers named Lauda and Hunt but had no idea of this remarkable story these men shared.
Bruhl’s depiction of the focussed and driven Lauda is quite simply extraordinary. This is his movie, make no mistake. I hope a certain academy takes note of this performance. I did a little bit of googling today and from what I have read, this depiction of him seems spot on and even Lauda is okay with it. Lauda also speaks very fondly of Hunt, which surprised me.
Hemsworth was fantastic as the hard living Hunt. He was bold and brash but in parts brought a humanity to this lost soul. Hemsworth can bring it …..
This movie has a very 70’s look and feel to it. It was the colours for me. The colours and quality was very 70’s. Loved it. Oh and certain cigarette brands must have wept with joy at the chance to see their names back up on the big screen. Ahhhhh how bittersweet it must all be ha ha ha.
I insist you go and see this movie. It is fantastic. It has enough but not too much racing….. enough but not too much drama. It is a very human story about people. It never gets too serious or too dramatic, quite the feat considering some of the subject matter. So make some time this weekend, then get yourself to Glendale to see this movie. You will not be disappointed ….. promise.
Love Flick xx
Starring : Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, Natalie Dormer, David Calder, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay
Running Time : 123 minutes
Release Date : October 3