As a filmmaker, there’s something of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t aspect to a project based on a true story. If the film sticks to the actual story, the result can be anti-climactic. On the other hand, if the filmmakers manipulate the script to make it a Cinderella story or to intensify the drama, they are criticized for it. This film is yet another example of a true story falling flat--although I’m not entirely convinced that’s what left me cold.
James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is the playboy, the race-car driver with no head and all heart. He is a rock star behind the wheel, and he doesn’t hesitate to risk his life for the win. Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) is quite the opposite: analytical and introverted. He is as dedicated to winning as Hunt but takes an entirely different tack. That’s the movie: head versus heart. The men’s personal lives both adhere to their code of conduct, as well. And despite their profound differences, they develop a strong--if not moving--respect for one another.
The problem with the film is much like the character of Niki Lauda, the film lacks heart--there is no emotional connection. Technically, the film is a masterpiece: the acting is impeccable, the direction is breathtaking and the script is tight. And that’s it. It’s odd really that a movie about such a nail-biting, white-knuckle sport could be so, well, blah. It’s a 6.