Producer/director Ron Howard’s latest is one of the best ‘sport movies’ in years, a chronicle of the mid-‘70s rivalry between playboy Englishman James Hunt and super-disciplined Austrian Niki Lauda that’s more about the two characters than all of the He-Man crap that normally goes with such dramas, and makes these rather unpleasant men compelling and even amiable figures.
Immediately disliking each other when they met in 1970, Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Lauda (Daniel Brühl) take the chance to tear strips off each other personally and in the press as the years go by, and especially as the bed-hopping James eventually marries the long-suffering Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) and the tougher, colder Niki gets hitched to Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara).
Everything leads first to Lauda’s terrible accident at Nürburgring in 1976 (a sequence that uses genuine archival footage) and, of course, the final Japanese GP that year, a lengthy and thrilling sequence that non-F1 fans would be best off not Googling beforehand.
With fine performances, extraordinary evocations of key races, a sweaty ‘70s feel and a celebratory aspect as we fondly remember two diehard nutters, this isn’t called Rush for nothing (and that’s certainly a better title than On The Hunt or Lauda And Lauda – or even It Burns!).