Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Rush movie review

Though auto racing fans will love Rush, I don't necessarily think you need to be an auto racing fan to enjoy the film. At its core, Rush is a character study of two polar opposites who both have a passion for racing. The setting is the 1976 Formula One season. British driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) have one thing in common. They like to win races. Other than that, they are polar opposites. Hunt is a notorious hard drinking party animal. Lauda is more serious about everything. They had been rivals for a few years but it comes to a head when Hunt joins McLaren in 1976 and becomes a serious challenger to 1975 F1 champ Lauda. Until then Hunt didn't have the equipment to challenge Lauda. Director Ron Howard does a very good job building the back story leading to the turning point of the film. It is pouring rain at the 1976 German Grand Prix at Nurburgring. Lauda wants to cancel the race but the other drivers led by Hunt vote to race. Lauda is seriously injured in a horrific crash. Somehow he only misses two races. And the championship comes down to the final race in Japan where it is pouring rain again. Lauda starts the race but then quits because he thinks it's too dangerous and the big question is can Hunt finish high enough to win the championship. The idea for this film came from screenwriter Peter Morgan who worked with Howard previously on Frost/Nixon. Morgan says he was a big James Hunt fan. Howard decided that if he was going to make a racing film he was going to make the racing scenes as realistic as possible. He does this mostly using stunt drivers and camera tricks and special effects. I do recommend seeing this film on the big screen for that reason alone as it's the only way to get the feel for the speed of the cars. Both Hemsworth and Bruhl do a great job inhabiting these real life characters. Unfortunately, I don't think Universal has done a very good job promoting the film. I'm sure racing fans will love it. But they need to sell it as more than a racing film and they haven't done that. It's very well done and seemed a lot shorter than two hours long. Even non-racing fans should enjoy it. Check out the trailer.

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