Do I love great movies? Regardless of the subject?
Fantastic news, then.
'Rush' is much more than a movie about racing. It is, at times, one of the best movies of the year and Howard's most "complete" movie yet as a film director.
'Rush' is a compelling, true-life drama set against the world of Formula One racing in the late 1970's. The film features some exhilarating action scenes, but sets itself firmly as a drama about the spirit of competition and the sacrifices that people make to be "the best."
Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Daniel Bruhl (the lovelorn Nazi from 'Inglourious Basterds') are James Hunt and Niki Lauda, respectively. The two drivers enjoyed an impassioned rivalry during 1976 that would alter the lives of both men and the people around them.
Hunt, known for his status as a playboy and his innate gifts behind the wheel battled Lauda fiercely, whose methodical approach and seriousness had earned him the championship in 1975.
The genius and joyful entertainment from 'Rush' stems from the balance that Howard achieves between showcasing the adrenalized rocket-coffin car races and the thoughtful insight into the personal relationship of two completely opposite, yet inextricably connected men.
Amidst professional glory lies personal sacrifice for both Hunt and Lauda as they nearly obsessively pursue each other on and off the rack tracks.
Hemsworth and Bruhl are both terrific in their roles, with the edge going to Bruhl for his portrayal of the complex Lauda. Bruhl's performance achieves the difficult goal of making the audience genuinely feel for a character whom most would easily and aptly describe as "an asshole."
The supporting performances by Olivia Wilde as supermodel Suzy Miller, and Alexandra Maria Lara as Marlene Lauda, offer touching human insights into the personal wreckage that the relentless competition between Hunt and Lauda created.
The cinematography, editing, sound, and music are exceptional. 'Rush' will and should be nominated for several technical awards this "Awards Season."
But the bigger surprise will be for those of you reading this review who don't take my advice and get out to theaters to see 'Rush.'
'Rush' is flat-out one of the best films of the year. Howard will be nominated for Best Director and possibly Best Picture for a movie that you might mistakenly think is about cars racing around a track.
I am not much of a fan of motor sports, and initially thought that maybe the trailers and commercials for 'Rush' were for a glossy movie about Formula One racing.
This incredibly entertaining and inspiring film from Ron Howard deserves every award that it wins. It's that good.
'Rush' is a thrilling and yet, emotional glimpse into the lives of men willing to die for their love of sport. It is expertly directed, skillfully acted, and one of the most satisfying surprises that I've had at the movie theater in some time.