Rush The Movie- Preview
September 4, 2013 by Leo Nulty
I met Niki Lauda once. It was back in ’84 or perhaps ’85 and he was a guest of Shell Ireland. A school friend of mine had a father who worked in RTE and he brought us there to meet the great man. If I am honest, I was a Villeneuve fan and my F1 interest had waned since Gilles was killed at Zolder a couple of years previous. Dad and I were always fond of chargers, more than calculating drivers, so Prost or Lauda were not exactly favourites of ours! Anyway, as my friend’s dad led Lauda down to the studio (I think it was Gay Byrne who was interviewing him….) he stopped en route and said he wanted to introduce him to two young race fans. He just said “Hello” and shook our hands- then silence. We were asked did we have any questions- all I could think of was to ask when the season started again- he replied with a single word- “April” and that was it….
I had all but forgotten that brief encounter until I attended a preview screening of Ron Howard’s latest production the other night. Daniel Bruhl’s portrayal of the three time F1 World Champion must be good- it reminded me of that day almost 30 years ago! I have to admit I was a little bit sceptical about the film, as I was sure that the story would have to be hammed up in order be a success at the box office but my fears were largely unfounded. It brilliantly brings you back to the ’70s, the pre Bernie days, where health and safety were pretty much non existant and drivers were killed on track with alarming regularity. Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth, is the ultimate smoking, drinking well spoken womaniser and as such, you are drawn toward him in the early stages of the film. The scenes of the Hesketh team swilling champagne and eating lobster and oysters in the pitlane were pretty much how it happened and one can imagine low little this endeared them to the rest of the pitlane, especially as they became more competitive. Similarily, here is a scene when “Il Commendatore” Enzo Ferrari sits at the side of the track reading the newspaper while Lauda has his first test, and then the team chief tells Lauda that he can’t tell Ferrari that his car is “sh!t”! This also, is pretty much how the Maranello team was run back in the day too.
As the film progresses, and Hunt’s marriage and his career go off the rails, Lauda’s career gathers momentum and the tide begins to swing in his favour, before the famous crash and his incredible recovery. In the end, as we know, it ended up in a straight fight between the pair in the ’76 Japanese Grand Prix and this is captured superbly as is the begrudging respect between the pair.
As for the inaccuracies, if they were there, I barely noticed them. As Ron Howard said: “It is not a documentary, it is interpretative.” If you are a motor racing fan, then go see this film- you will not be disappointed.
RUSH is released in Ireland on the 13th September..