I’m not a Formula One fan. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it when I watch it, but I’ve probably only ever seen one race from beginning to end. That said, I was fascinated by Senna when I watched it and had heard great things about Rush.
The film tells the story of the real-life sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and his technically brilliant, but uncompromising Austrian opponent Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) in the events leading up to (and following) Lauda’s infamous crash at the Nürburgring during the 1976 German Grand Prix.
The world of racing was very different in the 1970s – there was certainly no safety car; in fact (says Lauda), there was a 20% chance of death every time you went out on the track. This sense of raw exhilaration is brilliantly recreated by director Ron Howard, who planted cameras on the front of the cars in order to bring the audience smack bang into the middle of the race. You genuinely fear for their lives.
And surprisingly, rather than simply offering the usual clichéd tale of fast cars and beautiful women, the action off the track is just as enthralling. While Hemsworth puts in the performance of his career thus far (and that is not to belittle Thor in any way – besides, I wouldn’t dare!), it is Brühl who ultimately steals the show. His is a subtler, and somehow greater presence (despite having less screen time) that certainly deserves to win big come the awards season.
Though if only there were an Oscar for delivering an insult – Brühl would have it in the bag…
123 mins | 15 | September 13
Watched: September 29, Cineworld Haymarket (Screen 2)