Warning: do not drive to the cinema. Public transport is a must.
I genuinely do not know where to start with this film, whether to first comment on the poetically uplifting true story, the all too real archived footage used or the perfect performance of Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt. I think I’ll start with Chris Hemsworth.
Oh Chris I thought I could only envision you as the hammer-wielding Thor but gosh you make a gloriously flawless self destructive hero. You can not help but enjoy every scene with Hemsworth flashing his pearly whites with his boyish charm showing the fun playboy side of 1970s F1 completely contrasting with the serious professional Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).
The chemistry between these two juxtaposing characters is unbearable from the moment they first meet, with you instantly rooting for Hunt while knowing Lauda deserves every trophy on offer. While it seems that the film may circle around James Hunt and his bed hopping, beer guzzling ‘George Best’ ways the film is very much more about Niki Lauda and his fight to be taken seriously.
As well as creating great tension between the characters off the track, director Ron Howard manages to balance this tension on the track too, with exhilarating scenes to keep you on the edge of your seat feeling every clunk of a gear change and dripping bead of sweat in these epic yet intimate performances.
To continue building on this mountain of pressure throughout the film, Ron Howard has expertly included many clips of archive footage which feels natural and doesn’t hinder the flow of narrative. The cherry on top of this white knuckle cake? Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight trilogy) produced the soundtrack and it does nothing short of giving this high octane film an even bigger injection of adrenaline during the races while providing the perfect emotional backdrop for the more intimate of off track scenes.
Despite all the tension this film has a very light atmosphere about it as banter flies from one end of the pitt stop to the other and characters jibe and jostle with pathetic remarks which keep you laughing yet well aware that beneath the face of things are two very good friends/ enemies keeping each other at the top.