Motor racing has always seemed like a slightly pointless spectator sport to me; standing about waiting for something which whooshes past as quickly as Harry Potter on his Nimbus 2000, then waiting for it to come around again. I am obviously missing something and can’t help thinking that the whole experience may be enhanced were I to be in the company of an up-and-coming racing driver, like James Hunt. He was apparently as passionate in the bedroom as he was on the track and Hunt’s unconventional behaviour is part of F1 folklore. One of his favourite racing-suit badges read: ‘Sex. The Breakfast of Champions’.
The film stars Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Brühl as his competitive rival, Niki Lauda and chronicles the rivalry between the two drivers during the 1970s. There is some archive footage at the end of the movie which shows just how well the actors captured the physical appearances of their subjects, as well as their characters. Whilst Lauda was technically- minded and focussed, Hunt seemed to have a much more opportunistic approach to achieving success. The film obviously has lots of very fast and exciting race scenes and ‘Rush‘ was nominated for awards for its editing, sound and stunts.
Aside from the racing though, the main focus of the story is the relationship between Hunt and Lauda. Although rivals, their circumstances brought them into contact with each other regularly and the pair were firm friends. Niki Lauda was severely burned when his Ferrari burst into flames following a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix. Even though I am not a race fan, this piece of F1 history is well-documented and I did find myself anticipating the accident throughout most of the first part of the movie. Lauda’s recovery was excruciatingly painful, yet he was spurred on by his need to beat Hunt and was back on the track just 6 weeks later. He didn’t win that Italian Gran Prix, but the race was nevertheless a triumph.
Niki Lauda retired from racing in 1985. James Hunt was only 45 when he died of a heart attack. Asked about ‘Rush‘, Lauda reflected upon his friend; “The sad thing is that he isn’t here now. I wish he could have seen the movie because I know for sure he would have enjoyed it.” I think that is a very positive endorsement.