Being a huge Formula One fan I was ecstatic when I first heard about this film, as although I wasn't alive during the brilliant feud that James Hunt and Niki Lauda had, I have a decent knowledge of the history of Formula One.
From Formula Three to Formula One, James Hunt and Niki Lauda's rivalry would culminated in the 1976 World Championship.
This was an amazing film, and one of the best biopics that I've ever seen. I always had high hopes for the film, but there was a small part of me that was dreading that it'd either not show what really happened, or go too Hollywood by emphasising things to much, as although some things were slightly emphasising, it wasn't to the extent that I dreaded it would. With a director such as Ron Howard it was bound to be good to a certain level, as although I've never really rated him as an actor he is a brilliant director, having directed the likes of Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code, all of which were amazing. This however may very well be his best film to date, as he managed to capture the drama, and suspense perfectly, and even the usual slow parts of a biopic were exciting in this film.
The cast was brilliantly chosen for this film, as although some of the background cast members weren't necessarily perfect for their respective role, the actors chosen for the roles of Hunt and Lauda couldn't have been better. Chris Hemsworth has been an actor that I have enjoyed seeing in films for a while now, having given brilliant performances in Thor, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Cabin in the Woods, and although his portrayal of James Hunt was also fantastic, it was the performance of Daniel Brühl as Niki Lauda that stole this film. I don't know much about Brühl's acting history, having only seen him in Inglorious Basterds previously, but his performance in this film couldn't have been better, as besides looking the part of Lauda, he managed to show brilliant emotion as well, both during, and outside of the rivralry with Hunt. Going back to Hemsworth, he also did a perfect job as Hunt, and although the voice wasn't quite perfect, it was close enough, getting his characteristic perfectly.
|Hunt and Lauda|
Now I've already talked about both Hemsworth, and Brühl's performances as these great F1 racers, but I will now also go into a little more depth about how well I felt they were shown in this film, starting with James Hunt. Now I only know what happened in the career aspect of both Hunt and Lauda, but not everything that happened outside of that. The film got the tension between the two characters perfectly, and I loved how it showed the extent of Hunt's party life, showing how much of a ladies man he really was. Besides this I also enjoyed seeing his life as a married man to Suzy Miller (played by Olivia Wilde), and how he coped with his stardom.
Niki Lauda was also shown brilliantly in this film, as besides the perfect performance by Brühl the film it showed just how brilliant he was at setting up the cars. It also showed his cautious nature perfectly, as although Lauda was always motivated to win, he'd never take life threatening risks with the film stating that he's only willing to take a 20% risk of death, and no more. I also loved how it showed his relationship with Marlene Knaus (played by Alexandra Maria Lara), and how the film would show the contrast in lifestyles between his, and Hunt's. I did however feel that the film showed Lauda and Hunt as more of enemies, as although they were bitter rivals on the track, they were really close friends outside the race track.
The cars in this film were perfect, with the replications looking as close to the real thing as possible. The racing itself was also amazing, as although the film would focus more on the lives of Hunt and Lauda off the track it would show some racing, with the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring being the main race focused on. The only thing that some F1 fans might not like about the racing was that it was made to look a lot flashier that it really was, with the whole Hollywood style of racing taking over. I personally didn't mind this as it would add plenty of drama, and suspense on top of the excitement. Also not everything works on film if done in a realistic manor, so it's better to get something that was as I said dramatic, than something that didn't work.
Now the main historical event that would be shown in this film would be the near-fatal crash that Lauda was involved during the 1976 German Grand Prix, that left him with severe burns, and scarring to his head. The accident itself was replicated perfectly in this film, as besides being visually stunning, it also had great tone, and emotion, as well as brilliant drama, and suspense. It was however the later scenes showing Lauda's recovery in the hospital that I enjoyed more, as they had so much more emotion in it, showing just how much pain that Lauda was in, whilst also showing his drive to get back into the car, and continue his attempt at retaining the Formula One World Championship.
This was a phenomenal film, and simply a must see for any Formula One fan. Besides having brilliant racing, it would show the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda perfectly. The thing that makes the film as amazing was the tone, and drama in the scenes showing the two off the track, also having brilliant suspense, and excitement throughout. I've already stated that it's a must see for any F1 fan, but I'd also strongly recommend it to anyone else, even if you've never considered anything F1 related in the past.