Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay
James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is a cocky race car driver who dreams of finally making it into Formula One. When his path crosses with Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), their personalities immediately clash, giving rise to a giant rivalry. When Niki buys his way into Formula One, James follows suit. But their rivalry becomes increasingly risky, which finally leads to a horrific accident.
We’ve been bombarded with trailers for this movie for quite a while – so much so that I almost didn’t want to see it anymore when it finally come out. But I went anyway and was generally rather pleasantly surprised by it.
I’m Austrian and everybody here knows Niki Lauda and that he used to be a racing driver and now owns airlines (I flew with his airline a few times and once had himself as my pilot. We’re basically best friends). With that kind of presence Lauda has in Austria, Daniel Brühl – who isn’t even Austrian – had his work cut out for him to portray Lauda convincingly. But he was absolutely up to the task. Linguistically alone, when he speaks Austrian-accented English, it is so perfect, it gave me goosebumps. When he speaks Austrian German it is almost as perfect.
But even apart from the language, he was really, really good. As was Chris Hemsworth. Generally the cast (including the few amazing people who just pop up here and there) was really fantastic.
Ron Howard knows how to make epic cinema and he’s ably helped by the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, which is absolutely amazing. I thought that the trailer would have ruined that cello piece, but it still worked during the film for me.
There were only a couple of things that didn’t work so well. Towards the end things started to take too long, particularly that last race should have been shorter – it drained a bit of the tension. And the other thing were the absolutely weird subtitles whenever Niki spoke. The translation completely changed the meaning. This happened more than once and always towards the worse. (Like when Niki says, “Komm, sag jetzt bitte nix.” – “Please, just don’t say anything.” The subtitles were translated to “If you love me, you won’t say a word.”)
But that’s just a small thing in a generally very entertaining movie.
Summarizing: you don’t have to see it in the cinema, but if you happen to catch it, you can do very much worse than this film.