Movie Review: ‘Rush’

Jarrett Quick

Although I was at first disappointed this film wasn’t about one of the Canadian band, “Rush,” it still managed to hook me with a solid dramatic story amongst the backdrop of Formula One racing.

The film follows the story of Formula One racers Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and their intense 1970s rivalry. Starting from small beginnings as Formula Three drivers to their ultimate clash during their 1976 season.

One thing I really appreciated about this movie was how vivid and detailed the work cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle brought to “Rush,” especially during the racing scenes. The tracks are seen from the perspective of an insect, to the dominating curves of Fuji Speedway towered over by Mount Fuji in the distance. This movie looks fantastic, and the Formula One tracks of the world give Mantle plenty to work with.

Even with the great camera work, both lead actors still manage to avoid being upstaged thanks to excellent performances by both Brühl and Hemsworth. Hemsworth is charming and of course believable as playboy partier James Hunt, but I was especially impressed with Brühl. Niki Lauda made his name in racing thanks to his intelligence and Brühl conveys that through a serious and at times agonizing performance, especially when he is recovering from a brutal accident during a later race.

Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara were also excellent as the drivers wives Suzy Miller and Marlene Lauda respectively. Lara and Brühl had great chemistry and their scenes together really round out Lauda as more than just an analytical mind. Olivia Wilde also does a good job as someone who obviously loves the danger that comes with Hunt’s high-octane lifestyle but is not fully prepared to live with the consequences.

This film could have easily been softened down to a PG-13 rating, but I am glad director Ron Howard kept the R rating. This movie wants you to see the excesses of Hunts lifestyle and the vicious accidents that are possible on the track in detail, and the movie is much more effective as a result.

These drivers are possessed to risk anything for victory, and Howard manages to show why they do it and why most people wouldn’t. Lauda’s recovery is especially graphic, so anyone sensitive to gore be aware, this movie does not flinch.

I would put this up with “Frost/Nixon” as one of Ron Howard’s best films. It is real; the story is exciting and emotionally gripping, and both the lead actors and supporting cast bring high grade performances to the screen. “Rush” is great and completely earns a five star rating.

5/5 Stars