Chris Hemsworth oozes charisma in “Rush.” His stint as Thor in “Avengers” doesn’t really show off his talent or ability to command a screen, but he has that in “Rush.” The film, which is based on the true rivalry of Formula One race car drivers James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), gets off to a slow start. Lauda is the narrator of the movie, telling the story about where they began to where their competitive spirits took them: vying for the title of World Champion.
Hunt is a playboy, wild, undisciplined, the exact opposite of Lauda’s rigid expectations and habits. Their competition with each other is what helped fuel their rivalry but also ultimately their respect for each other. Hunt is reckless making him a liability for potential sponsorship. In the hope of looking like he’s settled down, he quickly marries supermodel Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde), who eventually leaves him unceremoniously for Richard Burton. Hunt's free spirited nature can’t be tamed and he often reflects on how the crazy pace of his occupation is truly what makes him feel alive.
Hunt and Lauda both want to win and although they are on the opposite sides of the personality spectrum, they will both do anything it takes to get there. Lauda outraces Hunt city after city until a fateful race turns everything around for both of them. It’s only here, late in the movie, where the pace shifts and “Rush” begins to move at a pace that I was hoping for from the beginning. Hemsworth’s sparkle is what powers the movie through the muddled parts, but it should have picked up speed much sooner.
It’s odd because I often feel this way about movie set in the ‘70s. There is a laziness, water-downed look and feel to that era that makes any sense of urgency left at the door. It looks washed out, used up, needing a lift from someone or something. For a movie that involves race car driving that doesn’t really work.
Final words: Chris Hemsworth gets the heart pumping more than most of the racing scenes, but the story's conclusion is a remarkable one.