Many of you will be familiar with the soon-to-be-released film Rush.
In short, it is Hollywood’s take on the epic 1976 Formula 1 season, in which James Hunt vanquished Niki Lauda.
Even before Hollywood’s intervention, it is a story that has everything: a charismatic world champion beating a less emotive, calculating Austrian, McLaren versus Ferrari, disqualifications, reinstatements, a last-round thriller and, of course, Lauda’s horrific Nürburgring crash and his subsequent recovery and return to the racing cockpit.
Fortunate enough to see the film at a preview night, I can heartily recommend it as two hours of pure entertainment. The story doesn’t stray too far from reality and, while some of the dialogue takes hamming it up to a new level and some of the action is beyond fake (a quick extra gearchange precedes every overtake), it is gripping throughout, both for the race fan and non-race fan.
But what particularly delighted me – and what is undoubtedly the true highlight of a film that could so easily have slipped in to celebrating Hunt’s heroic success at the expense of everything else – is the portrayal of Niki Lauda.
It would have been so easy to cast him as the villain of the piece, yet he emerges as the real hero of the season – and rightly so. Throughout, his character is elaborately built up, and brilliantly acted by Daniel Bruhl (who puts in a performance that is so spellbinding it only serves to highlight the shortcomings elsewhere).