Yesterday I went to see “Rush”, the new Ron Howard movie about the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
First of all, let me start by saying that I don’t have historical memory of the events portrayed in the movie. I wasn’t born yet, so I’ve learned about those facts through videos, articles and interview long after the facts.
Secondly, because I’m a great F1 fan, I had mixed expectations from this movie. I will be completely honest in saying that I was worried it was going to be a “romantic” story of the relationship between the two, with just some hints of F1 in the background. On the other hand I was reassured by Ron Howard great ability as a storyteller (he’s the director of movies like Apollo 13 and more recently The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Deamons). So you see the mixed feelings where they came from.
I was completely turned around by this movie. The F1 aspect is front and center, with great attention devoted to the subject. The races are re-enacted to great details and the mix of original historical recordings with newly recorded material helps to transport the viewer back in time.
When they are not racing on a circuit, the two protagonist are racing to be winners in life. You can see two very different approaches. On one side there’s Hunt: young, desired, successful and light-hearted. On the other side instead there’s Lauda who is a cold machine, always concentrated on his career with one single fear: happiness.
Two very different paths to live their lives that will result in two very different approaches to live their cars and their careers on the circuit. It’s clear how the personal life and the races are fused together in their minds and one cannot happen without the other. This is very clear and true when we assist at the painful procedures that Lauda undertook after his monstrous accident at the Nürburgring. Me and other viewers in the theater would have probably wanted to skip over that scene, but if you think about it, it’s the perfect representation of the link between the man and the car. The pain the body is going through for not being in the car, and all the efforts made to go back to live once again.
The ending, with the two stories brought back to modern days (with only one continuing today), helps to remind the viewer that everything they saw really happened in the world and it’s not just the fruit of some writer’s mind.
There aren’t many movies on the world of F1, probably because the sport is not as mainstream as we would think it is, but this one is definitely a good way to help many new people in joining us cheering at the smell of rubber and the sound of these colorful arrows driving by…