Lauda meets his wife and smiles showing off his nasty teeth while exerting dirty tricks. Hunt makes an ill-fated marriage to supermodel Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde), drives her away, bankrupts his boss and is routed by Lauda. Hunt is infuriating and difficult as the fragmented tale of corporate power, struggle, lack of perspective and loathing drags on. The duo pursue each other with a lack of decency and grandstanding ideological tendencies. This is not a poignant depiction. It is slow-burning and is not wry as both Hunt and Lauda are general tools with crude in-your-face fractiousness and intolerable behaviour and logistics that are mind boggling.
Lauda has a moratorium on fun and is infuriating. Minor characters deliver lines in the manner of a Speak and Spell. When in 1976 they race the most dangerous circuit, the errant Lauda who has no filter, self awareness or empathy nearly burns to death in a crash due to wanton disregard. This film is so lacklustre and got so wrong with no depth or poignancy and the sap just won’t flush properly. Lauda despite being given the Last Rites, rises from his hospital bed to deliver clumsy polemics and dominate F1 in much the same way the Black Death dominated the Dark Ages. The whiny neurotic Hunt desperately wants to win and looks sweaty and focused despite Lauda invoking crassness, scorn and derision.
Cue even more obnoxiousness, sneering, unjustifiable risk, dishonest mantras, contempt and sappy style and tone. The grudge match comes to a climax. Cue more sap. This had way too much sap. Natalie Dormer pops up as a nurse who shags Hunt and Julian Rhind-Tutt is one of Hunt’s hangers on.
“The best way to keep beating the goose-stepper.”
“My ratty little friend.”
“The car’s evil!”
“If it had been the drinking or the dope or the infidelity or the moods, it might even have worked.”
“My God, a poet.”
“It’s a disaster!”
“If you love me, you won’t say a word.”
“Niki Lauda behind him, eating his spray.”
“When did you break your gear lever?”
“I shall be getting drunk.”