Synopsis: A re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
When I first started seeing the media surrounding Rush I was expecting another fast-paced racing movie. While racing does play a big part in the film, it is not the driving factor of the plot. Racing, in this film, is the common ground that two intense rivals share and also acts as a catalyst for the progression of their consistent, feuding relationship. Racing definitely plays its part in the film, but rivalry is the true underlying theme.
Ron Howard’s adaptation of this true story of Niki Lauda and James Hunt’s competitive relationship is both passionate and surprisingly accurate. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl both effectively consume the roles of their characters on both a physical and emotional level. If you’re someone that fact checks after watching a film with the “based on a true story” tag, you can see how much of a resemblance there is between the real drivers and the actors that portrayed them. James Hunt is a typical jock that exudes sex and confidence. Hemsworth easily fit into this role with his towering physique and masculine persona that we’ve seen in many of his roles. Even though the role fit well, it shouldn’t discredit Hemsworth’s performance in any way. When the intense moments come about about, he gives an effective level of emotional range that while brief, still show his abilities as an actor. The true star of this film is Daniel Brühl with his amazing portrayal of Niki Lauda. Brühl is given the opportunity to outperform the rest of the cast with the magnitude of his role and proved that he was up to the challenge. The internal torment, pain, and struggle of Lauda are all seen as Brühl captures the essence of Niki Lauda.
The actors develop the characters but it is Ron Howard that develops the story behind them and their rivalry. Howard creates a yin and yang type relationship between the two. Lauda’s calculated personality is surrounded by a socially reclusive nature while Hunt’s charismatic personality also carries a danger-hungry lifestyle. While they may be entirely different creatures, they share a symbiotic type relationship, feeding off of each other’s strengths to strengthen their own weaknesses. I found this relationship to be one of the most interesting character dynamics I have seen in a film. There is no real enemy between the two and both are appealing as the hero in their own ways. I was significantly conflicted when deciding who to root for during the competitive scenes.
The racing may be second to the rivalry but the racing scenes are beautifully shot which intensifies the action and danger of the race. Formula One racing is dangerous and the shots throughout the film depict the danger and risk in a frame by frame fashion. Personally my favorite shots were the ones shot in the rain. The perspective of the drivers shows their limited visibility through first-person camera angles as water splashes against the cameras around every turn and cars begin to lose traction. Many of the scenes had that Hollywood touch that makes them a little too loud to be real, which makes it a fun ride and probably embellishes the sport to entertain the audience.
Rush is a film that many can enjoy. It has a bit of everything, action, sex, drama, and character development that is unparalleled. Ron Howard tells this true story accurately and honestly along with the two actors who are the embodiment of the characters they portray. I found it hard to find anything I adamantly disliked about the film, if anything my dislikes were brief moments of redundancies that were necessary for the film.
Rush – 8 out of 10
Fast paced racing that drives dynamic rivalry