‘Rush’ Movie Review

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Copyright: Universal Pictures

Formula-One racing is one of the most dangerous of sports in the world, but is also perhaps one of the most exciting. Drivers will risk their lives with every twist and turn they face on the racetrack, practically cheating death. It’s an exhilarating adrenaline rush that can grab the attention of any fan, and what makes the sport even more exciting are the rivalries that form between its competitors. One of the greatest rivalries dates back to the 1970’s with James Hunt and Niki Lauda, which still generates buzz today. So, the question is does Ron Howard’s telling of the true story between Hunt and Lauda worth watching?

 Fortunately, the answer to that is a big yes.  Rush starts its engines off in the early Formula Three racing days of James Hunt and Niki Lauda before making their way to Formula One in 1973. As the fierce tension between the two grows the story moves along by showing how the men progress as drivers through highlighting their earlier races against each other. After being released by Hesketh Racing, Hunt gets picked up by McLaren in 1976, giving him the edge in his pursuit to beat Ferrari’s Niki Lauda.

 After consecutive appearances as Marvel’s fan-favorite character Thor, Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World) is able to extend his acting abilities into a little more challenging role as James Hunt, and he does so in style. Rush does not stray away from making sure to establish Hunts’ actions off of the track by exploring his playboy habits. On the track, though, Hunt was regarded as one of the few who actually knew what it took to be a racecar driver. Hemsworth proves that he is more than capable of producing a true portrayal to the brash and womanizing British Formula One driver.

While Chris Hemsworth brought his A-game to Rush, the film’s shining star is without a doubt Daniel Brühl. Brühl gives an outstanding surprise performance as Niki Lauda, making the legacy of the character as interesting as he is in real life. Calm and calculated, Lauda is essentially everything that James Hunt isn’t. While Hunt is out celebrating, Lauda takes the more responsible route by studying and training every day, even after winning a race. Brühl’s performance is sure to surprise many, as his ability to translate the brilliance and compassion the Austrian racer has for the sport is excellent.

 Supporting actresses Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy) as Suzy Hunt and Alexandra Maria Lara as Marlene Lauda adequately fulfill their roles alongside Hemsworth and Brühl. Suzy Hunt, wife of James, serves as an anchor to her husband’s life as he attempts to slow down and stray away from his partying lifestyle. But as Hunt loses traction of their relationship, Suzy’s existence in his life evaporates. Marlene Lauda, on the other hand, remains at Niki’s side from the moment they meet to the end of the film.

 Director Ron Howard once again shows that he is still a great director, by providing Rush with an exhilarating and authentic time in the theater. The use of practical effects and very little CGI, Howard is able to successfully re-create the atmosphere of the 1970’s world of Formula 1 racing. Another source of the film’s R-rating is the realism of the sport as Howard effectively presents the danger.

To add on to that, Rush would be less exciting if it were not for its score. Composed by none other than Hans Zimmer himself, the busy composer once again creates an excellent piece to add to his already great resume for the 2013 season. Zimmer’s score brings an admirable blend of dramatic and epic tensions throughout the film, allowing it to be perfectly placed for its 1970’s setting.

 There was an interesting choice made in approaching the way the story was to be told, which was providing monologues by James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The screenplay, written by Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland), allows the men to tell their own side of the story and what they thought of the rivalry, how it started, and what they think about each other.  This technique works extremely well for the film as it allows the audience to easily distinguish the lives of the two men, revealing each of their strengths and weaknesses as men, as well drivers.

 While its slower points might discourage some viewers, Rush is an excellent example of how a sports film should be made, not to mention racing films. Moviegoers are not required to have an interest or knowledge of Formula One racing in order to enjoy this film, because as any good film should do, it builds up an interest for you. The performances given are enough to view the film alone, as each rendition of the real life characters are superbly executed in the transition to the big screen.

Ron Howard brings justice to the story of the famous rival racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, and also showing off his directorial prowess. Not many other directors could make a racing movie by keeping it as real as possible without sugar coating the dangers of the sport while maintaining what makes the sport exciting to watch.

Rating: 4/5 – Excellent

Rush is rated R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use. Its runtime is 2 hours and 3 minutes long. Rush  is now playing in theaters.

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