53, that’s the number of points between the top 2 drivers in this year’s formula one season which hardly makes for a nail-biting conclusion such as was seen in the old school era of F1. In 1976 the world champion F1 driver was decided by a single point and included a fair amount of political controversy including disqualification and abdication, which is why it has become the latest racing car drama to be committed to screen.
‘Rush’, is the latest film by Ron Howard and traces the legendary rivalry between two giants of F1, Nicki Lauda and James Hunt as ambition and enmity drives them from lower league racing to winning world championships. Chris Hemsworth swaggers onto screen in the opening scenes as James Hunt, epitomising the image of a racing driver, covered in a smidge of blood and immediately bagging himself a nurse whilst being patched up. It is a fun inflated image of the two as they swear and snipe at each other and the two roles are perfectly captured. Daniel Bruhl’s Lauda is as far away as possible from Hunt’s flair and charisma with his precise statistics and knuckle-down work ethic, but equally wonderful in his portrayal.
Gianni at Gucci claims that ‘it is hard to think of a more glamorous profession than being a racing driver in the seventies’, an image the film certainly shows with James Hunt’s bevy of attractive women and Gucci heading up the big names in the costume department. The film handles the balance perfectly, with just enough hedonistic glamour and 70s rock to exaggerate the pin-up of the old school racing driver, and just enough chat about suspension and horsepower to please those approaching this film as a proper F1 fan.
Ultimately however the film is a haunting portrayal of a profession that is both exhilarating and extremely dangerous. How for some this closeness to death makes you feel more alive, for others it simply reminds you of what you have to lose. It is a high speed romp through the peaks and pitfalls of a love hate relationship about a pair who may have deep down respected each other, but in the end would stop at nothing to win.