Nothing gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline at an all-time high than going fast and the risk of death. Imagine you’re in a vehicle that will roar to life, as its 500 Horsepower engine revs and drowns out the noise of the outside world. Heavy rain is pouring and the roads are slick. You’ve got everything to lose and very little to gain. The risk of death is well above 20%. Countless things could go wrong with your car that could cost you your life. Why would you risk your life for a single race? You’d have to be crazy, right? Well, not unless you’re driven by a desire to win or by someone who is always pushing you to perform your best.
In 1976, Formula 1 drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) were competing to become world champion. This one race would make the difference in one of their lives. Months and months before this moment, the two first met in the Formula 3 racing division. Hunt was the crème of the crop and lived an eccentric life filled with parties, alcohol and women. On the other end of the spectrum, was Lauda, who was far more serious about racing and spent his time working to get the best efficiency from his car. Come race time, Hunt’s brash nature makes him drive recklessly and Lauda’s serious and distinct nature makes him drive smartly. Pit the two against each other and you’ve got a neck-and-neck race that could hang in the balance of a single screw-up or opportunity taken.
As the two work their way up into Formula 1, their rivalry expands when the two become concerned with becoming a world champion. The men poke fun at each other and swap insults, but come race day, they’re both serious and determined to beat the other. As time goes by, Lauda finds early success as Hunt finds massive car failures. It’s not until Lauda crashes on the Nurburgring track that Hunt stands a chance of winning. Lauda suffered serious burns to his face and body and was hospitalized for weeks. As he lay in bed for weeks, watching Hunt win his races, Lauda became fueled to win again. In an astounding change of events, Lauda manages to get back in the car and go head-to-head with Hunt. They’ve got a lot of racing left to do and their longtime rivalry will come down to one final race. They’ll be facing all the elements with a whole lot to lose and a championship to gain.
After I got back in my car after seeing this film, I wanted to drive really fast and like a Formula 1 driver. I had a similar experience with Fast and Furious 6. Something about watching cars roar by at over 150 mph will make you want to try it. Rush left me with my blood pumping and my adrenaline level at an all-time high. The thundering roars from the engines and the fast paced driving left me in a daze. I was completely enthralled by this film and its two-hour runtime seemed to fly by like the Ferrari’s on the race tracks.
Fueling this already supercharged film, were Hemsworth and Bruhl. Both gave fantastic portrayals of polar opposite men. Hemsworth fit the charming and reckless Hunt, while Bruhl fit the serious and intelligent type. From their verbal interactions to their desire to beat the other, you felt like these two men WERE their characters. The story is told from Bruhl’s point-of-view and he really does a great job with transforming his character. I’ve heard tale that they’re pushing for Bruhl as a supporting character which I have conflicted feelings about. On the one hand, he’s not a supporting character. If anything, he’s a co-lead. On the other hand, he stands a far greater chance of winning as a supporting actor than as a lead. Either way, he should be recognized for this brilliant performance!
As a whole, Rush is pretty great. Director Ron Howard’s vision, combined with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, create a picturesque film that visually stuns. The score, done by legendary composer Hans Zimmer, stimulates you as you watch events unfold. Combine all these elements together, along with Bruhl and Hemsworth’s performances, and you’ve got a fantastic film. As Lauda and Hunt prepared to race during a downpour, their interactions and the focus on the individual rain droplets will captivate you. You’ll think them absolutely crazy for driving in terrible conditions. However, it does make matters quite tense and will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to anticipate what will happen next.
If anything, Rush falls short with its slower and “darker” scenes. Seeing as most of the film is fast-paced, the outside-of-the-car interactions are drastically different. More than that, but they seem somewhat… rushed (pun). The rushing of those scenes also takes us away from the great supporting characters in this film, including: Olivia Wilde, Pierfrancesco Favino and Alexandra Maria Lara. They all bring a different viewpoint of the two leads, but they’re often thrown to the side to make room for more rivalry! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the powerhouses that were Bruhl and Hemsworth, but I feel like the integration of more supporting characters who gave us an outside prospective of the racers would have helped move the story along.
Reflecting on all the great films that I’ve seen this year, none have left an impression of absolute fun as Rush has. I really enjoyed this film. I laughed and I also felt my heart pounding in my chest. I can’t praise Bruhl enough and I feel as if Hemsworth will garner some attention too. This is definitely one of the better films that I’ve seen from Ron Howard and I was very impressed overall. It was crazy to see this true story and rivalry come to life on the big screen and I feel like the screenplay, cinematography and actors really complimented the story. Those aspects helped make the film look and feel real and had you caring about what would happen to them. Rush is exhilarating at its core and is a film that’s going to stick with you long after you watch it. Want a word of advice? Take a slower car to the theater, just so that you can’t do anything crazy afterwards! Trust me, you’ll want to!