Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl excel as James Hunt and Nikki Lauda in Ron Howard’s kinetic account of one of the sporting world’s great rivalries.
Hunt brought the glamour and Lauda the technical excellence to Formula One in the 1970s. Their shared competitiveness drove them – literally to new heights in the sport. Howard’s film charts their rise, through the ranks of the racing world, culminating in the dramatic 1976 season. Brühl is understated in his portrayal of Lauda, but evinces the determination that pushed the driver beyond extraordinary physical boundaries. While Hemsworth’s charisma perfectly channels the playboy lifestyle Hunt led.
Howard’s direction is unfussy, but his masterstroke is to give free reign to cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. He lets rip on the thrilling race sequences. Combined with Daniel Hanley and Mike Hill’s taut editing, Frank Kruze’s sound and Hans Zimmer’s full-throttle score, the film delivers on the promise of its title.