"1" is the best racing movie of 2014. It starts with the 1996 crash of Martin Brundle in the Australian Grand Prix, where everything went right. The crash was horrendous. But no fire. Safety officials on the scene to pull Brundle from the wreck. Race red flagged. Brundle sprints to Dr. Sid Watkins, the F1 medical Czar, gets approval to hop into a back up car and races that day. Then we see the most magnificent footage of F1 past, starting with the Jim Clark era, interspersed with fireball after fireball. Lorenzo Bandini, dead, Jochen Rindt, dead, Piers Courage, Francois Cevert, dead and dead and on and on, a litany of tragic death.
And who stopped the carnage? Jackie Stewart, of course, but also Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley played important roles, and come off very well in the movie. Dr. (Professor) Watkins too. There were, of course, detractors. Jackie Ickx is painted as a fellow who would drive a flaming fuel tank on wheels if he thought it would win (and did).
Everyone who was anybody in the last 50 years of F1 history (and is alive) is interviewed in the movie. Mario Andretti, Stewart, Ickx, Brundle, John Watson, Mosley, Ecclestone, Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi. Some of their girlfriends and wives too. And they were hot, back in the day. And a lot more. But why spoil the plot.
Also, there are incredible scenes, both horrific and uplifting with Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Schumacher, Hamilton, Webber, Kubica. The fellows behind the scenes aren't ignored either. The fascinating Lord Hesketh, owner of Hunt's early racers is featured, both in the 70s and today. Enzo Ferrari and Colin Chapman. On and on, the movie travels through the terrible day when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger died.
And things changed. F1 became, if not safe, then reasonably safe. Because as Brundle says, (I paraphrase here, because I am too lazy to scroll through more than two hours of documentary) "Everyone likes to see a shunt now and then, but no one likes to see anyone killed."
I hope that I haven't given anything away. Let's just say this movie is like watching the amazing fictional 1966 movie "Grand Prix" and last year's "Rush" mooshed together, except all of the cars and characters are real.
Do I have anything negative to say about this movie. Well, no, but I thought it was interesting that the movie, like "Rush" and "Days of Thunder," all featured the song, "Gimme Some Lovin" It's a nice song. A little unimaginative when everyone uses it though.
I am surprised Jalopnik missed this movie (but I searched and found nothing). Forgive me if I have been sleeping and missed the Jalopnik review of "1," the movie. If I was out of the country that week, well call me Rosanna Rosannadanna and never mind.
However, if Jalopnik has yet to call out "1" as a movie to watch, if not "The" movie for Jalops to watch in 2014, let me do so here. The movie came out in January this year and it seems was barely seen in theaters (if at all), ran on the NBC Sports Network several weeks ago, and then again today, July 4. My Verizon channel search does not show an encore presentation, but you can buy the movie on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/1-The-Movie-Fo…
(I get nothing for this plug. I liked the movie and believe a lot of other Jalops will too.) Directed by Paul Crowder, written by Mark Monroe and narrated by Michael Fassbender.
Go see it. Or buy it.