If you think that a movie set within the confines of Formula 1 racing is boring, think again. ‘Rush’ an independent film by director Ron Howard roars onto the big screen. It is the story of the rivalry of two titans of the racing industry, Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl ) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth).
‘Rush’ provides an intimate look into the lives of these racing professionals whose ideals often collided. Each were the exact opposite in character, however both had the same passion to become the best race car driver. In fact, both Lauda and Hunt turn their backs on their families’ wealth and sought out a less than stellar profession.
Hunt was the flamboyant playboy rock star who lived and partied hard. He was known to smoke, drink and seduce his way on and off the track. Despite, his wreckless attitude, Hunt was born to race.
In contrast, Niki Lauda was the cautious perfectionist who aspired to be the best at anything he chose. His drive for continuous improvement allowed him to excel on the track.
It’s ironic that Hemsworth is playing a god of the track since he is known for his hammer work as ‘Thor. ‘ But, he delivers a great performance as the larger than life Hunt. His piercing blue eyes coupled with a devil may care attitude seem to authenticate his character.
Brühl is spectacular as Niki Lauda. His portrayal of this straight forward character and perfectionist attitude is humorous at times. In fact, it is his no nonsense qualities that are endearing. He brings a depth and heart to this complex character.
Just as the film contrast the lives of Hunt and Lauda, it also looks into the women who love these great men. Olivia Wilde is Hunt’s model wife (whom he married on a whim) who tries her best to love this complex man. Her character is the epitome of 70s fashion. But she is less supportive of Hunt’s career. Unfortunately, their marriage is doomed due to his racing obsession and inattentiveness (She leaves him for an older actor -- Richard Burton).
Alexandra Maria Lara is cast as Marlene Lauda. She is the encouraging wife that allows Lauda to be the best. Lara adequately portrays the stoic and mature Marlene. For example, when Niki suffers third degree burns and struggles to return to racing, it is Marlene who quietly supports his decision.
The cinematography of Anthony Dod Mantle creates breathtaking views of the racing world. At times, the audience is close enough to be a member of the Formula 1 pit crew. Your heart speeds up and your breathing becomes labored as you immerse yourself in this story. (Note: engines are loud and the sounds echoed in the theater are deafening at times.)
Even if you are not interested in racing, this is a great story filled with love and drama.