In the 80s, we had Maverick and Iceman in the cut-throat adrenaline-filled world of combat pilots. Just 10 years earlier there was Hunt, Lauda and Formula One. But while Mav and Iceman were real only in the hearts and minds of 'Top Gun' fans the world over, Hunt and Lauda were real in every which way. ‘Rush’ is the new film by Ron Howard that showcases their on-track rivalry, and the potentially deadly consequences of F1 racing.
Little to no knowledge of the elite racing world is fine for ‘Rush’, as the film focuses on the people and the sport's effects - this being a “job” that carries a 20% chance of death every time a driver gets on the track.
In the 70s two racers, English James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) were the ultimate competitors and rivals. Hunt was the beauty, the braun and the playboy of the sport. Lauda was the brains and the heart. Each one brought their own set of strengths and skills to the field, with their rivalry finally revealing its ugly side during a race in Germany ’76 - a race that almost cost Lauda his life, leaving him with disfiguring burns and injuries rather than another victory.
Howard, a masterful storyteller, has brought a kind of grace and understanding to this testosterone-charged microcosm. He and his cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘127 Hours’) have made the filming of car racing an exquisite and graceful art form. Hemsworth and Brühl are captivating, but with Hemsworth once again sporting his ‘Thor’ accent, it can be a little distracting and giggle-worthy. It is, however, Brühl who eats every frame. The German actor owns Lauda from his cold, calculating, driven personality right down to the teeth - physically transforming himself into his real life counterpart.
The sexy and indulgent 70s come to life in ‘Rush’, and despite a few scenes coming off on the melodramatic and theatrical side, this is a great and fascinating true story about the world of racing, sportsmanship and the human competitive nature.