Directed by Ron Howard
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Think of Ron Howard’s flashy new race-car movie as “Amadeus on wheels,” said Kyle Smith in the New York Post. In the world of mid-1970s Formula One racing, blond British playboy James Hunt was the sport’s “clown genius and Sun God”—a Mozart of the cockpit. His nearest rival, Austria’s Niki Lauda, played the grind who couldn’t help resenting easy talent. Throw them together in a fictionalized drama guided by Howard and the result is a “polished,” “frequently thrilling,” and “easily digestible” action flick that you won’t remember in a month. Thor’s Chris Hemsworth is perfect as the hard-partying Hunt, and Daniel Brühl turns Lauda’s soullessness into “the film’s most dependably funny gag,” said Rafer Guzmán in Newsday. At times, the rivalry hints at a profound choice between two different ways to live. But these are both arrogant men driven to risk their lives for little reason, and Howard’s mainstream style “is not ideally suited to the edginess this story seems to cry out for,” said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. “For all his skill,” Howard’s instincts remain “inescapably square.”
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