Monday, October 26, 2015

A Very Good Film

It's title is "Rush" and it concerns itself with the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda (Austrian) and James Hunt (British.)    If you are not a racing fan, no need to read further except for what is the larger lesson in this movie.

Professionals can be bitter, enthusiastic rivals in their field but away from it, they can each respect the other because they know what they're doing.  Racing, in general, is a dangerous sport.  If a crash doesn't kill the driver, the after effects can (presumably) make him (and her in today's racing world) very sorry indeed.    I'm reminded of NHRA Top Fuel racer Darrell Gywnn who lost his left arm and was paralyzed after an exhibition race in England.  He was 23 years old. 

Two more distinct personalities would be difficult to find.  Hunt, the playboy of the racing world, vs. Lauda, cool, methodical, factoring in the 20 per cent chance of injury at any given track.

It is an engaging look at rivalry and friendship; enmity and understanding.  And the fervid desire to never let the other guy win.

What happened to them after their racing careers ended?  Lauda, who became a private pilot, started his own firm Niki Lauda Air.  He was married twice and sired five children.  He has seen this film three times and not only liked it but praised the actor who portrayed him.    He was also startled to see himself (extensive facial burns) the way others see him today.  He has refused plastic surgery saying, in essence, that it is what it is.

James Hunt didn't live to see the movie; he was dead at 45 of a heart attack during his sleep.

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