Rush (Ron Howard, 2013)

What's it about? Set in the world of 70s Formula 1, it's the story of the racing rivalry between the cavalier playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and the methodical introvert Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), as they go head to head for glory during the rather eventful 1976 Championship.

Is it any good? A solidly assembled sports drama. Taking a leaf out of Lauda's book, it takes few risks and goes for a straight-laced, methodical approach to its material. To be fair, however, the real-life events that inspired the film need little embellishment - younger readers may wish to know this was from a time when F1 was actually worth watching. As such, it plays out in exciting fashion, although perhaps it could have thrown a little Hunt-like unpredictability in the telling. Nevertheless, it recreates the look and particularly the sounds of 70s F1 impressively, and does good work to build tension towards the end, even if it is over-reliant on Murray Walker sound-a-like exposition from the commentary box. Both leads are also good, although Brühl noses ahead in that particular battle thanks to playing the more interesting character. (He's almost upstaged by Hemsworth's arse, however, which impresses in a short cameo appearance.) Overall, an entertaining evening's viewing, even if you are familiar with the outcome. So although it never really does enough to earn pole position as a sports film, it doesn't crash and burn either. So that's good.

Anything else I should know? SOME SPOILERS in this meandering digression down memory lane. I have a very clear recollection of seeing Niki Lauda's crash on TV when I were a nipper. I couldn't possibly have seen it live, so it must have been footage from a few years later. I'm guessing it was around 1981, because in a bizarre twist, my tiny brain mixed up the event with the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. So thereafter, whenever the Pope was mentioned , or he appeared on the news, I used to think it was that poor fella that got burnt in the car, and that the white clothes he wore were bandages to cover up the scars. True story. I think I was in my twenties before I realised my mistake.

What does the Fonz think? Formulaic 1

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