Spanning a six-year snippet of the racing careers of English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, “The Avengers”) and the impossibly disciplined Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl, “Inglourious Basterds”) “Rush” functions as more of a dual-biopic than a sports film. That turns out to be to the movie’s detriment, partly because the two drivers did not have a lot of direct interaction, and partly because it means that potentially exciting racing scenes were forgone to make room for more lower-octane moments. Unfortunately, Peter Morgan’s (“Frost/Nixon,” “Skyfall”) screenplay is uneven at best, with the dialogue being especially repetitive in the scenes between Hunt and Lauda. In fact, if it weren’t for Hemsworth’s and Howard’s names attached to the film, it could almost be mistaken for a made-for-TV docudrama. The most glaring problem with the film, however, is the editing. Instead of showing the cars themselves during a race, viewers are instead bombarded with a non-stop barrage of quick cuts of everything from side-view mirrors to company logos to amateur raceway photographers.
The film’s sole saving grace is the acting caliber provided by Hemsworth and Brühl. Both give emotional and convincing performances as the dueling drivers, and make the most of the lackluster screenplay.