The latest film from director Ron Howard keeps his track record intact even as he shifts into a new direction with this terrific story set in the world of Formula One racing. More specifically, the film is based on the true story of the rivalry between drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda, during the 1976 racing season.
Mr. Howard revs up the action with precision camerawork and terrific acting from his two leads, Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Nikki Lauda. Mr. Hemsworth has the showier role as the outrageous Mr. Hunt, both on and off the track but Mr. Bruhl is firing on all cylinders as the serious and driven Mr. Lauda.
Olivia Wilde plays Suzy Hunt but the part is underwritten and she doesn't have much to do besides look very attractive. Alexandra Maria Lara plays Marlene Lauda and she is fueled by a more emotional connection to her husband.
The film is much more than just about racing. Credit the script for going deeper into the lives of these men and what drives them in their quest to be the best. Mr. Howard does, however, provide thrills in all the race sequences as cameras shoot from amazing angles, putting the viewer in the center of the action. Composer Hans Zimmer contributes a wonderful score matched by a great seventies soundtrack that adds depth and emotion to an already terrific story.
This is a film that should be seen in a theater to really appreciate the spectacle of Formula One racing and it easily takes its place in the winner's circle along side such classics as "Grand Prix".