The first movie Ron Howard ever directed was "Grand Theft Auto." Since then, he has built a storied, award-winning career; now he has come full circle to another auto-racing film. This biography is based on the true story of an Austrian Formula One champion and his British arch rival. I found it thrilling, involving and highly entertaining.

We see:
  • Daniel Brühl ("Ladies in Lavender") as three-time Formula One champ Niki Lauda, a buttoned-down technocrat, friendless and charmless, but a brilliant analyst who understands all the elements of racing: the track, the engine, the body, the weight, and above all, the competition.
  • Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") as handsome James Hunt, exuding the joie de vivre of international success. He revels in the booze, the drugs and the women that go along with fame and is always the darling of the press because he is so quotable.
  • Olivia Wilde ("The Change-Up") as Suzy Miller, soon to be the famous supermodel Suzy Hunt, who swans into Hunt's life and quickly marries him, much to their mutual regret.
  • Alexandra Maria Lara ("Imagine") is Marlene, who marries Lauda almost on a whim, but who remains as his staunchest friend and ally.
Howard gives us a soundtrack that shakes the theater as those powerful engines roar into life, but never neglects the dialogue: We hear every single spoken word in a script where much of the fun is what our two rivals say to (and about) each other. Each has driven the other to excel and their top-notch competition brings up the game for both, so they come to realize they need one another. Lauda says, "I learn far more from my enemies than from my friends."

We already know from reading about this film, that neither one dies in any of the horrific crashes we see, so this isn't a spoiler, but I found comfort knowing in advance that despite treacherous rainstorms and challenging race tracks, these guys still will be with us in the final frame. I always want someone to root for!

In this R-rated story, expect nudity, alcohol, drugs, profanity, excitement and a lot of humor.
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