Lauda: the Untold Story ***
Dir: Hannes Michael Schalle. With: Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton. 90 mins. Cert: PG
That “untold” snipes at Ron Howard’s Rush, where Niki Lauda was deployed as an uptight yardstick against which James Hunt’s roistering could be more efficiently dramatised. This studious documentary profile – Austrian-assembled, despite its overblown American voiceover – benefits from the candid testimony of a driver who went to hell and back while displaying a supremely Teutonic matter-of-factness: on being offered last rites in the wake of that 1976 inferno, Lauda recalls “my pragmatic thinking was that it couldn’t do any harm”. Textured archive punches up Lauda’s transformation from humble berger to post-crash power player, yet after the initial trial-by-fire, the narrative tailgates 2013’s comprehensive F1: Life on the Limit in impressing upon us the sport’s latter-day devotion to risk management. While this has saved a lot of skin, it’s the material of an instructional video; a decidedly MOR closing-credits cover of “Born to Be Wild” damns the untold story as very much the straight story.
Lauda: the Untold Story plays in selected cinemas for one night only on Thursday 2nd.