Exhilarating and enthralling, RUSH (M) sees a return to form from director Ron Howard.

From the pen of the biopic go to man, Peter Morgan, screenwriter of The Queen, The Last King of Scotland and Frost/Nixon, this is the story of the legendary rivalry between Formula 1 race car drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauder.

Firing on all cylinders, this high octane entertainment has a grand prix cast headed by Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Lauder.

Already a commercial commodity as the hammer wielding thunder god, Thor, Hemsworth gets to flex his acting chops and not just his muscles in this role and flexes them splendidly, likewise Bruhl whose laudable Lauder is a treat.

Hemsworth’s cavalier, off the cuff delivery coupled with his camera loving charismatic charm and looks made me think calling card to another character with first name James who has a penchant for fast cars and glamorous women.

Their rivalry is palpable, their realisation that they are similar adding a simmering frisson to their relationship. These driven drivers dealt with demons differently – the Austrian with discipline and diligence, the Brit with drink and dope, and yet both achieved world champion status.

For Lauder, racing was strategic and scientific, for Hunt just sport, but their will to win was intrinsic to both. And as the film shows, both were fabulously flawed phenomena.

The film accelerates from the first frame and never flags which is something of an achievement as it clocks in at two hours. So packed with intrigue and incident, RUSH is an adrenalin ride that’s in top gear for its duration.

Shot by Slumdog Millionaire lenser Anthony Dod mantle and edited by Daniel  P. Hanley and Mike Hill, Oscar winning cutters of Apollo 13, RUSH is indeed a rush.