Rush tells the true story of the fierce rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, starting from their beginning in Formula 3, all the way to their Formula 1 days in 1976, where both of their lives changed. Director Ron Howard once again teams with screenwriter Peter Morgan, and together they create not only a full on action film, but a character piece as well.
I had minimal knowledge of Formula 1 in the 70’s, and having stayed away from doing any research prior to watching it, I was not sure what to expect from the film. I was most pleasantly surprised. The movie wastes no time in setting up the main characters, and how the rivalry started between them. As an audience member you’ll immediately get invested in both of the main characters, their quirks, and the story.
The car race sequences are simply superb. Thanks to Anthony Dod Mantle’s cinematography, at times you’ll feel like you are inside the car with the drivers, experiencing the race first hand. At other times, you will feel like you are at the race track, sitting on the edge of your seat with excitement and tension. While the movie shows plenty of races through different parts of the world, I never found the track scenes and action to be boring or repetitive.
Unlike most films based on true stories, Rush chooses not to take sides. While it would have been easy to typecast Hunt and Lauda as either hero or villain, the movie allows the viewer to see both sides of each character. You will find yourself loving, loathing and cheering for both drivers at different times during the film. For any film maker to achieve this effect, is extremely rare.
Hemsworth is very convincing in portraying the self centred, wisecracking, playboy British driver. In terms of acting, Brühl is the highlight, as he makes Niki likeable despite his obsession, singular drive and no nonsense attitude. In scenes together, the two actors truly shine – they really make you feel the loathing and respect they have for each other.
Olivia Wilde, is good as supermodel Suzy Miller, but her appearance is so brief you almost forget she is part of the film in the end. Alexandra Maria Lara has a more significant role as the supportive partner, which she is great as, however, towards the end there is nothing left of her character development, other than the concerned wife.
You don’t have to be a Formula 1 fan to love this movie, the subplot of the characters is as equally intense and intriguing as the rest of the film. Those that are familiar with what happened in 1976, you do not miss out, as you get to be centre stage of the action and see what really happened behind the scenes. If you are unfamiliar with what happened, do yourself a favour and keep it that way until after you watch Rush. Though note that the writer and director do apply some artistic license. For all the Hemsworth fans, you get to see more of him than you have in the past.
Overall, to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Rush, would be an understatement. I laughed, I winced (there are some gore/brutal moments), and sat at the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. This is easily one of the best movies out this year. It is so good, you won’t even realise it’s over 2 hours long. I give it 8/10 stars.