Sport is littered with bitter rivalries, with some of the fiercest contested on Formula 1 racetracks. During the 1970s, tempers frayed between ladies’ man James Hunt and speed fiend Niki Lauda.
Their daredevil duels reached a horrifying crescendo at the 1976 German Grand Prix when Lauda’s Ferrari burst into flames, trapping him in the inferno. Six weeks later, Lauda emerged from hospital with extensive scarring, determined to prevent Hunt claiming the chequered flag at Monza. Ron Howard’s superb biopic Rush charts the rivalry between Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) from their early days to the glamour of the Formula 1 circus.
An uplifting story of admiration and friendship, Howard’s direction also offers plenty of thrills for petrol heads.
Screenwriter Morgan selects the choicest cuts for the big screen, including horrific hospital scenes where Lauda drifts in and out of consciousness but still musters the strength to growl, “Tell the priest to get lost. I’m still alive!” The film pulsates with the same vitality; a vivid portrait of men who lived on the edge in an era when racing was genuinely a dance of death.