In the mid-1970s charismatic English playboy James Hunt was determined to become the world champion Formula 1 driver when he met and began racing against his most worthy opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Lauda’s quest for excellence and methodical method of studying cars, engines, and racetracks helps him to quickly become the front-runner in the sport ahead of all the more accomplished and seasoned racers. It’s not long before Lauda, whose anti-social manner and bluntness makes him the least liked racer on the circuit, and Hunt – whose extrovert personality has made him well-liked amongst the racing community – clash and become bitter rivals.
It’s during the 1976 season that Lauda has a horrible fiery crash while racing and is barely pulled from his burning car alive. While fighting for his life and struggling to recover, he finds inspiration and becomes even more determined to get back behind the wheel by every race Hunt wins, and each of Hunt’s wins means he’s getting closer to taking the title of champion racer from Lauda.
Based on a true story and directed by Ron Howard, Rush is a sleek, tense drama that is elevated by Howard’s superior direction and the stand-out performances of Hemsworth and Bruhl. Chris Hemsworth gives the best performance of his young career as the glory-seeking, likable playboy who is not without a conscience and at times even reaches out to his rival Lauda to extend an olive branch of friendship. Daniel Bruhl is perfectly cast as the self-absorbed, rude and brilliant Lauda who takes on the racing circuit and quickly becomes the greatest racer in a generation. Bruhl even looks a little like the real Lauda and his performance, especially when Lauda is struggling to recover from his terrible burns in the hospital, is breathtaking.
Ron Howard captures the mid 1970s wonderfully with the production design, costumes, hair styles, and the of course the cars which is sure to help the audience get the feel of life in that era. The only drawback to the film is in some of the racing scenes where the audience can’t really make out who is in what car, and also a few noticeable mistakes such as during one of the races in pouring rain when the cars round a corner and are dry with hardly any water on them.
Engaging and well-crafted, Rush is an intriguing drama about two men driven to be the best in their profession and the extremes they will go to in order to obtain glory.
Rush is rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use.
– By Kevin Finnerty
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