Ordinarily – here’s where I’d link the trailer but it’s pretty spoilery so I’ll forgo it. You’ll thank me once you’ve seen the film.
Who is in it?
Daniel “Goodbye Lenin/Inglorious Basterds” Brühl, Chris “Thor/The Cabin In The Woods” Hemsworth
What is it about?
An intense real life sporting rivalry between Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt culminating in a fraught 1976 championship season.
Why did I want to watch it?
Well you might ask. I LOATHE Formula 1. But I love the leads of this film, in particular Daniel Brühl who is one of my favourite actors and Chris Hemsworth is as talented as he is beautiful. Also Ron Howard is in the director’s seat and he knows how to put together a film.
Did I like it?
I’m going to start with the look –when watching the credits I was delighted but unsurprised to discover that the film’s cinematographer is Anthony Dod Mantle. For those familiar with his work – he collaborates regularly with Dogme directors and Danny Boyle , so you have probably are if you don’t know it -the cinematography is up to his superb high standards.
Onto the substance of the film. The highlights lie in terms of the action and the acting – the interplay of Hemsworth and Brühl make this worth the price of admission many times over. Chris Hemsworth’s James Hunt is thoroughly charismatic with a bitter edge and even “ratlike” serious Lauda, played deftly by Daniel Brühl has moments of genuine levity – particularly in his scenes with Alexandra Maria Lara. His way of telling her she has about to have car trouble is utterly delightful to watch. It is one of the finest works by both actors and though surprising, they would make worthy additions to the awards nomination season.
As a bonus there are some superb choices throughout the supporting cast. US actress Olivia Wilde’s brief interludes onscreen where she is basically there to show that there exists a human being as pretty as Chris Hemsworth, also demonstrate a very capable British accent. Alexandra Maria Lara is also not given much to do, but her reaction shots are thoroughly charming and if I am disappointed that Tamsin Greig didn’t make a cameo, at least her Green Wing costars added a lovely element of nostalgia as members of Hunts pit crews.
Should you watch it?
Yes. Do not let the subject matter put you off if you aren’t a petrolhead, the film is high octane drama and doesn’t dwell over necessarily on the racing scenes.
Ron Howard has made the only film that isn’t Senna that could make me contemplate putting myself through Formula 1. He shows balances the racing scenes with the dramatic with dexterity and skill and had me on the edge of my seat throughout (I genuinely had no clue about the outcome of the championship season so that helped!).
Other films it reminds me of:
It’s a change of pace but Senna is a magnificent Formula 1 documentary.
Watch this instead/as well/before/after:
Well it leaves Days of Thunder and the Fast and the Furious in the dust.