Rated 3.0

Writer Peter Morgan and director Ron Howard recount the 1970s rivalry in Formula One auto racing between Britain's James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), including Lauda's horrific near-fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix and his return to the circuit only six weeks later. Morgan's talent for dramatizing recent history (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) remains unimpaired, the race scenes are harrowingly exciting, and Howard gets fine performances from all, especially Brühl in a showcase breakout role. Threatening to undo all these virtues is a soundtrack (including Hans Zimmer's bombastic music) that's about 6 trillion decibels too loud: The movie is wonderful to look at but actually physically painful to listen to. Memo to Howard: Volume is not the same thing as intensity.