********Attention this review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.*****************************
Based on the true story of two formula one drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth of Thor) and Nicki Lauda (Daniel Brühl of Inglourious Basterds ) in the 1970s.
As stated in the summary this is a telling of the rivalry between two Formula 1 drivers starting in 1970 and lasting at least in the movie until 1976 when it came to a head when both were in the race to win the World Championship. The movie opens up with Nicki Lauda preparing to race in horrendous weather on at the time most dangerous track on the circuit. Lauda gives us the opening narration and pretty much explains to those, like me, that don’t know a whole lot about the Formula 1 history more focused on of course the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt.
After that opening sequence we flash back to 1970 and the main focus shifts from Lauda to Hunt where we meet him walking into a hospital after an altercation with another driver over what he did with the other drivers wife. This is also where we meet Nurse Gemma (Natalie Dormer of Game of Thrones) who shows us how Hunt is in his life off the track which is to say he is a playboy if he isn’t racing he is at a party, drinking, doing drugs, and having what seems like a train of woman rolling through his life. At this time Hunt is a Formula 3 and seemly doing well being sponsored by Lord Hesketh (Christian McKay of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). But Hunt takes Nurse Gemma to a race and notices that there is a new racer on the Formula 3 circuit and that racer happens to be Nicki Lauda.
Nicki Lauda is the complete opposite of James Hunt. You could say its the German in him but Lauda is all about making sure he is ready to do his job on the race track. Be it getting to the track super early before any other driver gets there to walk to the track and get a feel for its condition. He also is almost a genius when it comes to setting up his race car, which we see when he purchases his way onto a Formula 1 team and then goes about streamlining the race car he is given. Even though he has all these skills when it comes to racing his social skills are lacking, he is honest to the point of being brutal in sharing his opinion which of course does not endear him to the other drivers which comes into play later on in the film. He is one of those people where is body is his temple and he isn’t out there drinking or partying but at home studying and making sure he has enough rest. This kind of changes though when he meets Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara of Miracle at St. Anna) who is leaving her boyfriend at the time and gives Lauda a ride. Which also turns into one of the funniest scenes of the movie, her car breaks down and they are trying to hitchhike and cars keep going past when Lauda sticks at his thumb so Marlene is like let me handle this sticks out her thumb but the car goes zooming by only to screech to a stop pull over. We are thinking alright these guys pulled over because there is this sexy girl on the side of the road but turns out they are big Formula 1 fans!
Throughout the movie this is how it goes we will get a section showing us Lauda and what he is doing from being challenged at the Formula 3 race by Hunt, to taking a bank loan out to by into a Formula 1 race team, to being picked up by Ferrari Team.
Then we get to see James Hunt going from Formula 3, seeing that Lauda bought his way into Formula 1, and putting pressure on Lord Hesketh to get him into Formula 1 as well. We also see that his off track activities haven’t changed though we do see him surprisingly popping the question to Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde of Tron: Legacy). Needless to say that wasn’t a match made in heaven Suzy is a model who is not always around and of course Hunt is a rock-star Formula 1 racer with parties and women every day as well as the drugs. Which Suzy seems to be able to deal with until Lord Hesketh over extends himself and can no longer support Hunt in his Formula 1 World Championship endeavor, which wouldn’t be to bad if they could get sponsorship from some other companies but that is not to be with Hunts off the track reputation. So we come to a point where we see Hunt jobless and at rock bottom just trying to get behind the wheel of a race car again.
Needless to say that does happen which brings us to 1976. Nicki Lauda won the World Championship in 1975 and is the favorite to win in 1976. McLaren is in need of a driver and not just any driver but one that will give them the best chance to take down Lauda. Luckily Hunt is just boozing it up at home and playing a kids race game.
I don’t want to over spoil this movie, hell it might be to late, but I do wish to touch on one scene or scenes but the accident Lauda has and his recovery scenes at the hospital are I don’t want to say graphic but leave little to the imagination. And his road to recover is nothing short of amazing in my opinion. I think they stated that it was only 42 days before he got back into a race car and raced that is crazy! I do not know many people that would be off the couch much less in a race care.
If I have any Formula 1 fans following me or really any race fans that know the history of these two please leave something in the comments I would love to know more on these two racers.
For any racing fan this movie is a must see in my book, you follow two racers and there different approach to getting behind the wheel and this movie just really delivers. Ron Howard knows how to capture all the drama and gives us just a really good movie overall.
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Run Time: 123 min
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan (screenplay)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Dormer, Daniel Brühl, Tom Wlaschiha, Pierfrancesco Favino,