note: I’m finally back from vacation so regular posting will resume.
Movies about people driving fast cars can be pretty hit or miss. It’s a good thing then that Rush is a movie about the people who drive fast cars instead. The film follows the 1976 season of Formula One racing and the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, the former a hard drinking fast living playboy with a natural talent for driving and the latter a cool headed, clean living son of a businessman who relies on technical genius and precision. In short these men are polar opposites, an unstoppable force and an immovable object, and while both at the top of their game it makes complete sense that they would end up butting heads.
And it’s pretty fun to watch as a result.
Just to get this out of the way, the racing sequences are well shot and engaging. I imagine that this is even more true if you are a fan of Formula One (I’m not so much) as well, but the on track shots are pretty spectacular and do really make you feel like you’re right in the car with the drivers.
But it’s the drivers that make this worth watching.
Daniel Bruhl plays Niki Lauda and plays him very well. Lauda is, as described above, coolheaded and calculating. This makes him a fantastic driver but also a total asshole.
Chris Hemsworth plays James Hunt and is kind of an inspired choice. Don’t get me wrong, Bruhl is a great actor and to be honest the story mostly revolves around Niki Lauda (probably because Lauda is still alive), but Hemsworth steals every scene he’s in. As above, Hunt was more of a raw talent, this means that he’s also a total asshole.
The story kicks off while both racers are still in Formula 3 where during a race Hunt pulls a dangerous move and nearly wrecks them both. This kicks off the rivalry that lasts through the rest of their driving careers. And that’s really the story, Lauda is trying to win the races and stay alive and Hunt drives like each race is his last.
The racers wives are played by Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara, both of whom are very good in their roles. Lara is featured a little more heavily just by virtue of Marlene and Niki Lauda being married for years while Hunt’s marriage to Suzy Miller being very short lived.
Ron Howard has crafted a great movie here. The racing is fun, tense and exciting (something that’s hard to accomplish given both the nature of shooting a race and the fact that if you’re even passingly familiar with what happened that year you know what’s going to happen) and the relationship between the two men is engaging and fun to watch. Daniel Bruhl continues to impress, and Chris Hemsworth gets to again prove he’s more than just Thor.
Any one of these things would be enough to justify seeing it, all of them together mean you definitely should.