Friday, September 20, 2013 , Updated 3:05 p.m., October 3, 2013
Movie review: Thrill of race car driving takes to the big screen with Rush
The adrenaline is intoxicating.
James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is a handsome, reckless, British playboy formula race car driver. For Hunt, the point of it all is to stare death in the face, take the risk and say you beat it. Then there is Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), the disciplined Austrian who basically forced his way into the racing world through sheer determination. For Niki, racing isn’t about the thrill, it’s about the science and the mechanics. James and Niki drive on opposite ends of the spectrum yet their paths continue to cross, creating an epic rivalry. They each battle their way from the bottom to the top and meet on the biggest stage of all, Formula 1 racing. They will do practically anything it takes to win even if it means pushing themselves physically and mentally to the breaking point. In a sport where one little mistake can cost you your life, these two extraordinary men battle it out for Grand Champion.
The movie also stars Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay, Alistair Petrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Colin Stinton, Jamie de Courcey, Augusto Dallara, Ilario Calvo.
RATING9/10 Stars – Rush is a must see film for racing lovers, movie lovers and anyone who is looking for a film that will draw them into a world that is dangerous and intoxicating for just a few hours.
Directed by Ron Howard, Rush marks the opening of the 2013 race for the Oscar in stunning and intoxicating fashion. You don’t have to be a racing lover to enjoy or appreciate Rush. Despite the title, there is a depth to the film that goes well beyond the simple theme of racing. There is a deep-rooted human interest element in Rush that goes against expectations and clichés. In fact, it is Howard’s ability to subtly weave this element that shifts the film into high gear. Hemsworth (Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, Star Trek Into Darkness) is surprising, believable and powerful. Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Fifth Estate) offers a performance to surpass Hemsworth’s, but only because his character has the tougher of the two stories to live. Knowing only a little about the actual people the two actors portray, I can say they certainly do their true life counter parts justice. There are elements of the story or the storytelling that feel worn, as if you have heard the tale before and know how it all ends. Right when you start to feel that way, however, Rush turns a sharp corner and the feeling disappears as you are drawn into the embroiled rivalry of Hunt and Lauda.
I used the word intoxicating to describe Rush. Most critics are calling it thrilling, but I am not so sure it is. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat or biting my nails. I was however, engrossed and enthralled. I wanted to see what happened next and didn’t notice how long it was taking to get there. I was intoxicated by everything little thing. Howard made sure you could not only see, but also feel and even smell every aspect of Rush. The rain, the smell of burning rubber, the spray of champagne. He accomplishes this by mixing beautifully the art house film style with the Hollywood sophistication we expect from a film of this stature. The devil is in the details for a film like this, and Howard made sure he had all of those details covered. You feel the passion of the characters and the passion of the director and it is almost overwhelming.
When I first saw the previews for Rush, I wasn’t interested at all. I mean, I already don’t care for car racing, but when it’s a true story set in the '70s, I just couldn’t help but think BO-RING! However, when I discovered that Rush is a Ron Howard film, and knowing what he did with Apollo 13, I was more interested to give Rush a shot, and boy was I glad I did.
RATING8/10 Stars - This would have been an easy 9 if it was about a subject that interested me, but everything else was great. Not sure why it needed to be rated R. Cut out some of the nudity, and younger crowds could have been able to see this good film much easier.
Putting aside the fact that the subject doesn’t appeal to me, Rush is charming, engaging and very entertaining. It has plenty of suspense and conflict, but more importantly, it has heart. Unlike most rivalry movies, Rush showcases both drivers in this feud as equals. There is no “hero” and no “villain,” so the audience cares the same for both drivers. What this does for the film is keeps it from getting stale because when the story is focused on James Hunt we are just as interested as when we are learning about Niki Lauda. Unlike most true stories about a subject I didn’t live through, I felt more connected with these two men and wanted to see how it all played out. I wanted to see how they grew together in racing and how they grew to respect one another, even though they would never be friends.
As for the acting, I think both leads did a good job, but neither role seemed to require an over-the-top performance, so I’m not sure if any nominations will come in this category, but I have a feeling Howard will be looked at heavily for Best Director come award season. All I can say, is if you loved what Ron Howard did for a trip to the moon in Apollo 13, give Rush a shot, it won’t disappoint!
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