I think Chris Hemsworth is one of my favorite actors because there’s just something about the way he plays his roles that works for me. In my opinion, his characters tend to be endearing, hilarious, or a mixture of both, which totally helps keep me invested in the roles he plays.
His role as James Hunt is no exception, although, I do think Daniel Brühl really stole the show in this movie as Niki Lauda. I thought Brühl was fantastic; and while neither man looked exactly the same as the people they were portraying, I could see the similarities.
I’m not a die-hard racing fan by any means, but I do enjoy watching the sport if I happen to see it on television—one of these days I hope to see a racing match live. That’s totally on my bucket list. Anyway, despite my lack of knowledge on the subject, I found that it didn’t really take away from how much I enjoyed this movie. This is one I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing again.
I didn’t feel like anything was too exaggerated, which was nice, because most of these “based on a true story”-type movies tend to go over-the-top with embellishments. If anything, I kind of wish they included a bit more of the racing scenes, although I get the sense they might have been trying to avoid the usual sports-movie clichés.
As much as the plot revolves around the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda, I also thought it was very much about seeing the two very different ways these men approached racing and life. One lived for the moment, and the other believed in sticking to the rules. One might catch themselves wondering by the end of the movie which of the two ways is really the better way to live.
I could see the need to include Olivia Wilde’s character of the very real Suzy Miller to parallel Alexandra Maria Lara’s role as Lauda’s wife, but in the whole scheme of things, her role almost seemed unnecessary as I felt Lara’s character overshadowed hers completely. In fact, I think Lara’s role as Marlene Lauda is probably one of the very few female characters I’ve seen in movies that didn’t irritate me in the slightest. The character was very strong and didn’t spill over with womanly stereotypes (e.g. too whiny, helpless, overcompensating for her gender, etc.). She was just a strong and loyal supporter to Lauda, which I thought was very admirable.
Briefly going back to Hemsworth for a second; although some of his acting did remind me of his role as Thor at first—probably because of certain personality similarities shared between Hunt and Thor—I quickly forgot all about Hemsworth’s history as that character several minutes into the film. I find it always nice to see when an actor I like doesn’t appear to be trapped by a role they are well-known for. (Another example of this type of actor would be Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I’ll be talking about his latest film in the next entry I post, so I’ll save any further comments on him until then.)
I really enjoyed this one, and I do think it’s worth seeing on the big screen. If you haven’t seen it yet, I say, don’t miss out!
FINAL VERDICT: B+