Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Daniel Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds), Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy)
Director: Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Writer: Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon)
Runtime: 2 hours 3 minutes
Release Date: 13 September (UK), 20 September (US)
I’ve never been particularly interest in Formula 1 or car racing in general, but the tale Rush tells, like any good sports movie, appeals beyond fans of the sport. This isn’t a movie just about driving very fast (though that is a part of it); this is a film about rivalry, friendship and life in general. Let me explain a bit more…
I’m not well versed in the real life events that inspired the film, so I can’t really comment on how accurate it is but from what I’ve heard it sticks to the truth pretty closely. The story evolves from both the perspectives of Hunt (Hemsworth) and Lauda (Bruhl), and the dual protagonist angle surprisingly works. Much like fellow sports movie Warrior, the film gets you rooting for both sides and makes the races between them that much more tense. Both Hunt and Lauda are given equal screen time, and both have plenty of downtime together or apart to develop them. The emotions run high in the picture, and you will be there with them every step of the way. Props must go to Peter Morgan for his effective screenwriting, and that combined with the superb direction from Ron Howard help elevate this story to greater heights.
But this film would be nowhere without our leads. Hemsworth has never been better; he perfectly pulls off both the wild ladies’ man and frustrated hothead aspects of the character. Bruhl, meanwhile, acts as a great counterbalance with his tempered, sensible demeanour. The two play off each other brilliantly, and you grow to like both of them despite their differences and problems. The rest of the supporting cast is full of mostly unknowns. Olivia Wilde is the only other major face is the film and, whilst she is really good in it, she’s only in the movie for about 15 minutes. But stars a great movie does not guarantee, and everyone else does a great job supporting the leads.
Whilst the core of the movie is character-based, the race sequences are top notch as well. They feel intense and rapid, thanks to creative cinematography and whip-smart editing. If all Formula 1 races were shot like this, I’d probably watch it. The sound design compliments the visuals greatly too, full of plenty of revving engines and squealing tyres to get all of your inner petrolheads engaged. Hans Zimmer’s score is much more subtle than his usual work, but again he proves himself as one of the best composers working today. Special mention must also be made to the make-up work on Bruhl after his accident; it’s quite possibly the best burn victim make-up I’ve seen in a picture.
This review has been brief, but there’s not much more to say: Rush is one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year. It nails everything it does and keeps you engaged regardless of your interest in the subject matter. It is certainly Howard’s best movie in a while, and I do see it having Oscar potential, especially for the acting and writing. Though I have nothing bad to say, I can’t give it a perfect score. 10/10’s for me are reserved for films that get very strong emotional reactions out of me; whilst Rush did move me several times, I can’t quite give it my highest recommendation. Regardless, you absolutely must see it ASAP.
FINAL VERDICT: 9.5/10