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Movie Review – Rush: An Intense and Thrilling Race to the Finish Line

rush-poster-2013Rush is an exhilarating look at the real life rivalry and camaraderie between Formula One race drivers Austrian Nikki Lauda and Britain’s James Hunt leading up to the year of 1976 when they challenged each other directly for the World Championship title. One might think that a movie about Formula One racers may not be very appealing, what is ed especially given that race car driving is not exactly a popular sport here in the United States. With the story in the hands of Ron Howard however, try Rush becomes accessible as he compares and contrasts the two personalities by giving the audience a look on each sides as they compete with each other throughout the year.

Without really knowing the history of the Lauda and Hunt, it is difficult to say how accurate the film is. People who are fans of the sport will probably find inaccuracies, but as one who knows next to nothing, Ron Howard allows audiences to get caught up with the intense and thrilling drive of competition and speed between Lauda and Hunt. Rush is well crafted with the interweaving viewpoints switching back and forth between Lauda and his life during his rise to success and Hunt’s whirlwind, throw away personality in his similar rise to fame.

Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt is the perfect actor to display the care-free, womanizer, drinking, always ready for a laugh Hunt. His actions resulted in his wife Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) divorcing him. Lauda, played by Daniel Bruhl (who did a great job of looking like Lauda) has a straight laced Type A personality who seemingly lacks a sense of humor and comes off as kind of a jerk. Both were portrayed as really rather unlikable characters at the beginning, but they become endearing and likable despite their flaws at the end. Bruhl, who is more or less mostly expressionless here, constantly with an intense and awkward look to his face, but how Bruhl carries himself really portrayed Lauda to a T. Quite different in comparison to his roles in other films, which is always pleasing to see as a viewer to see an actor continually challenge themselves. The beautiful Alexandra Maria Lara is Marlene Lauda, Bruhl’s wife who grounds him and gives him happiness, making him more like able and more human. Marlene Lauda is just as beautiful in real life and with Lara’s big expressive soft eyes, you can see why Bruhl used her as his anchor.

Despite the speed required in racing on the Formula One races, the pacing of Rush takes on a slower but well spaced speed, allowing viewers to understand both personalities while moving the story ahead. Without realizing it, you might find yourself caring about each of the characters and invested in the story-line despite never caring about racing. Howard, at various points throughout the film, reminds the viewer that despite the rush one might get from watching these drivers race with “ticking time bombs”, there is always a very high risk of dying in the sport. This adds to the intensity of the film as with every race they show, you wonder if either Lauda or Hunt will have an accident (if you don’t know the story).

The look of the 70s is really detailed – from the clothes to the outfits, though perhaps not to the accuracy of Argo. However, it is obvious a lot of care have been taken into the shots and the setups, especially the cinematography and the shots of the drives. I particularly enjoyed the bits of flashbacks we are shown as to what is driving the passion and love for either Lauda or Hunt while on the track. At times, the score sounded epic, which matched with the intensities of the race.

There’s not much to fault Rush for, so I won’t. It’s a fascinating view on a small part of history in the world of Grand Prix racing that will make someone interested in the races even if for just a few seconds. The direction, acting, score, cinematography are all in top form here. Whether you catch it in theatre or decide to rent it, Rush will definitely not leave you disappointed. 5 McLarens / 5 McLarens.

Director: Ron Howard
Screenplay: Peter Morgan
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Actors: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde
Based on a true story


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