What is your official title/occupation? I am a practicing attorney who always had an interest in automobiles. My part-time jobs include being host and co-producer of Island Driver TV on OC-16 (channels 12 and 1012), and auto writer for HILuxury magazine. Also, along with Bill Maloney, we had a car radio show called Ohana Road on 1500AM. Finally, I used to test cars and write reviews for the old Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Over the years, I have participated in the solo program and wheel-to-wheel racing with the Hawaii Region of Sports Car Club of America.
Where and with whom did you see the movie? I went with my fellow attorney and former race car driver Harvey Henderson. I had the privilege of watching Harvey lose his front wheel on his race car at the old Hawaii Raceway Park. Fortunately, for all concerned, no great damage was done to him or to his car.
Overall, what did you think? I thought it was a great movie, not because of the racing footage in and of itself. The movie is really about two distinct personalities racing in Formula One in the 1970s. Both drivers started competing in lower racing classes, made an effort and succeeded in reaching the top ring in racing for the World Championship for Formula One. Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) is the straight-laced, not so personable Austrian who only thinks about the business at hand. Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), however, is the playboy, carouser, drinker, smoker, etc., who just believes that pure talent will result in victories. Their conflict begins immediately, each trading nasty comments throughout their quest for the World Championship, except when near tragedy strikes one of them. The movie makes it clear that, in this era, the car is a bomb on wheels. In that time frame, one or two Formula One drivers died every year or two.
Without giving away the ending, what was one of your favorite scenes? You would think, as a gearhead, that my favorite scenes would be the car racing, but as it turned out, it was “conversations” and “confrontations” between the very distinct personalities, plus a few heart-rending moments on the track.
On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film? ★★★★ I would give not solely because it’s set in a racing context.
What did you think of the cinematography? I thought the car scenes were pretty good but somewhat limited. It did not give you a feeling as if you were the driver in the cockpit. But nevertheless, there were some interesting and unusual shots of the cars in action.
Was the message/theme clear? There was no question that the personalities of the race car drivers was the focus. And a priest is involved – you will be surprised at what Lauda says to him.
Did it remind you of any other works of film? Of course, there are classic racing movies like Steve McQueen in Le Mans. It is always difficult to have a theme beyond purely winning or losing or accidents, but Rush pulls it off.
To whom would you recommend this movie? Everyone. I think many will believe that it’s another racing film but it’s much deeper than merely horsepower, tires and power plants.
Did you identify with any of the characters? I have, of course, wished to identify with the playboy life of James Hunt, who is that “wild and crazy guy” with every good-looking woman within reach. Real life, however, intervenes.
On a different note, what’s new with you? Since Hawaii Raceway Park has been closed, I and fellow racers hope that full-blown racing will return to Oahu. Sports Car Club of America, Hawaii Region, has autocross at Aloha Stadium and rallycross at Kalaeloa Raceway Park (KRP). KRP also has a circle dirt track, sand drags and other dirt-related auto events. We all are hoping that KRP will lay down some pavement so that a drag strip, road course, go-kart track and motorcycle track can be built so racers can get back on track! And for gearheads, there is the monthly Auto Lunch Bunch meeting with cars on display and an automotive speaker the first Tuesday of each month. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.