Release date: September 27, 2013
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Peter Morgan
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brüh, and Olivia Wilde
Official website: www.rushmovie.com
On the surface, "Rush", the latest film from Ron Howard, is about a fierce rivalry between two legends of Formula One Racing. But under that facade of masculinity and pride is a far deeper film that explores the fears and humanity of these drivers, who will stop at nothing to be considered the best.
The year is 1976 and Great Britain's James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, "Thor") and Germany's Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl, "Inglourious Basterds") have each willed their way out of racing's minor leagues in the the big show that is Formula One Racing. While each of them strives to be the best, the are complete polar opposites in both their philosophies on racing and life.
Hunt is the playboy who is more concerned about the public perception he carries, as well as drawing as much media attention to whatever he is doing. He's good looking, a stud with the ladies, and carries a no-fear-of-death attitude into every race he drives. He's calculating but reckless, willing to take every risk he has to if it means crossing that checkered flag first. His cockiness and carelessness often get him into trouble on the track, but it's a trait that also bleeds over into his love life and his marriage to model Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde).
Lauda is the opposite. He's about as close to a racing scientist as you can be. His perfectionist attitude fuels his competitive nature. He takes every little detail into consideration, from the specs of the car to the conditions of the track and race day. Not known as an attractive man, Hunt jokingly and accurately refers to him as a rat, Lauda was just as cautious in his love life, sometimes finding it difficult to maintain a real level of intimacy with his wife.
Ron Howard does an amazing job with the action sequences, spinning intense racing that pulls you into the action. But where the former Academy Award nominated director truly achieves greatness is in balancing that action with the human element of each driver and incorporating their extremely different styles. The truly great thing about this film is not just how it documents the rivalry between these two race car drivers, but in showing how much the success of the other, and the rivalry itself, fueled each other to strive to do better.
For the most part, Hunt and Lauda hated each other, but like all great rivalries, it's the respect that develops that helps to truly cement it as one of the greatest rivalries in sports. This is a movie about racing yes, but it is also about that drive to win that both of these men brought to this rivalry. It's about the human spirit.
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