In sports an adversary can emerge from out of nowhere or grows from an escalation of contests in which the competitor's begin to understand their opponent's strengths and weakness, but allows them the drive and determination to outperform one another on the grandest stage of all for the moment of glory while avoiding the bitter taste of defeat.
A forgotten sports rivalry that director Ron Howard re-introduces to the audience is the Formula 1 racing between English driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).
A rivalry six year in the making from Formula 3 racing to the sport's premiere league finds finds them at the ultimate point of the film in 1976 at Nuremberg track as they battle each other for the right to be called the number one Formula 1 driver. But before the ultimate showdown and turning point of the film takes places, the film looks at the driver's beginnings.
Mr. Brühl's character serves as the narrator but can only come second fiddle to Mr. Hemsworth's character. Their persona on the track represents how they function and carry themselves out in their real life.
Niki is shrewd, calculative as he finds the competitive edge in a sport determined by distance and length while James lives for the moment taking chances and risks that has him reaching the finish line or not even seeing it.
For Mr. Hemsworth the role fits him as the charismatic lady’s man who cracks jokes as he preparers himself for the races. Even though he’s the character that draws the audience in it’s Mr. Bruhl’s narration that keeps the audience intrigued in their rivalry.
At first it’s hard to like Niki's character but that's how he prefers it as an unlikeable and lonely figure. It’s only when he becomes a tragic figure does the audience relate to him and cheer for him as opposed to the much admired James Hunt.
For James, he tries to live outside of the fame and notoriety as he attempts to settle down with model Suzy Hunt (Olivia Wilde), but his mind can only focus on the next race and Niki.
Niki doesn’t remain lonely for long as he finds Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara) in his life. But the women of their life plays can't compete in their to their drives and desires on the track.
During the 1976 season, both drivers go through a series of races in which it’s a life and death matter as they travel at high speeds in a coffin on four wheels. Death and injuries are a constant remainder as they step in their vehicles and the flag waves.
But some elements of the sports are beyond the driver and the course as weather plays an important part into their game plan and how they race the courses when dealing with the unknown variable.
Mr. Howard brings the viewers as close as possible serving as a co-passenger in the narrow confine from seeing the blades of grass fly into the air to the near collisions of fellow drivers. He’s able to show the spectacular of the race with the audience clamoring on the tracks and the grandeur of seeing the car’s lined up ready to take their position.
Like any race, the film alternates between James Hunt and Niki Lauda as they race to see who can be proclaimed as the number one driver in the memorable Formula 1 racing season of 1976 with its larger than life drivers.
Classification: Redbox New Release Blu-Ray
Movie Grade: 4 out of 5 stars:
Director Ron Howard brings back the excitement into the less than followed sports of Formula One racing and showcases the 1976 season as the whole world watched two of its biggest stars: James Hunt and Niki Lauda go through the entire season to see who is the number one driver.
Blu-Ray Grade: 0 out of 5 stars:
Rental version only features the film.
Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use.
Timing: 2 Hours, 3 Minutes
Genre: Drama, Action, Biography
- Director: Ron Howard
- Writers: Peter Morgan