What’s it About?
The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
Directed by Ron Howard
8.5 out of 10
By Paul Knoop
Directed by Ron Howard, “Rush” is the story of two heroes, each vastly different from one another, yet both have equal goals. James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth) is a playboy, women gather around him like bees to honey, he lives his life to the fullest everyday and has a lifestyle of sex drugs and rock and roll.On the other side we have Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Brühl) who is the polar opposite. A dedicated and serious man, who has an almost mathematical approach to his passion: racing. Both are formula one drivers and this is their story.
I am not a big Formula one fan, so upon seeing the trailers and the huge spreads featuring the (very bankable) star Mr. Hemsworth, I wasn’t particularly sold on the idea of watching a 2+ hour movie about the rivalry between him and Lauda. I was wrong. Director Howard starts off by firmly establishing both characters, their beliefs, their lifestyles, their women. You can’t help but pick sides, in my case I felt more for Lauda with his serious and dedicated approach to his sport. But you can’t help but fall for the charms of Hunt.
If you lived throughout the 70′s, the movie bears little surprises in terms of its content, as is the case with most true stories. Most of us know that Lauda suffered severe burns from a crash, and know that both he and Hunt became world champions over the course of their careers. But it’s the movie that puts you right between them, as if you were there living it with them.
I was taken aback by the sheer amount of determination, effort and strength both men needed to make it in Formula one racing. As James Hunt puts it in one of his voice overs, most people think it is just a matter of driving around a circuit really fast, time after time. But it’s the fact that these men are so close to death everyday, that they feel the most alive.
They radiate life, and it attracts everyone around them. “Rush” paints a picture of what it means to be a race driver, it shows the lifestyle in glorious detail, the action happening during the races, but where it truly excels is in showing us the psychological side of being a race driver.
Yes, at times it is highly stylized, but with both lead actors (even though the poster only shows ‘bankable star’ Hemsworth) being so brilliantly cast and performing so well, Mr. Howard can be forgiven for showing us one to many close-ups of burning rubber, pistons firing and engines running.
If you are unfamiliar with formula one or have no interest in it, this movie will still manage to satisfy you. Whether you know about the history between Lauda and Hunt or you don’t, “Rush” goes to show that there’s always more to see, more stories to tell, and engage you as a viewer. It’s a story about two people, overcoming personal boundaries, and having a huge thirst for success.
A movie well worthy of your time, ‘Rush’ earns it’s high marks!