Movie review: Rush
5 out of 5 stars
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 21:09
In the past, most movies about motor racing were either super detailed and lost the average moviegoer or relied too much on fictional action and plot lines to entice the super-devoted racing fans. Well, director Ron Howard and writer Peter Morgan have created a movie that should entice both sides of fans in their masterpiece “Rush.”
The film focuses on two Formula One drivers, Austria’s Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Brühl, and Britain’s James Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth. The film begins at Germany’s treacherous 14-mile long, 176-corner Nürburgring circuit in August 1976, setting the stage for the tension to come. The film then goes six years back to 1970, when Lauda and Hunt first meet while racing Formula Three machinery.
The audience gets a good vibe for how Hunt and his Hesketh Racing team lived it up in the early 1970s, while Lauda sets to work, getting on the road to joining Ferrari. The film glosses over some of the pre-1976 history between the two, moving things in the timeline forward or backward in time to suit the drama, such as Hunt’s marriage to model Suzy Miller, played by the ever-beautiful Olivia Wilde. By early 1976, however, Hunt and Miller’s marriage hits a rough patch when he is distraught over possibly not being able to race in 1976. Miller goes off to go skiing, while Hunt sits at home and sulks.
Luckily, Hunt gets his second chance in Formula One driving for the McLaren team for the 1976 season. Hunt finally has a car to win with, but Lauda seems to have the upper hand until Germany, where the real drama of the season unfolds. Both Hunt and Lauda come out of the event as better friends, and then it all comes down to the World Championship in Japan.
The film ends with Lauda and Hunt meeting in late 1976 after the season ends, and Brühl (as Lauda) speaks of what happened to him and Hunt in the future over clips of the real-life Lauda and Hunt.
Overall, the film is an epic devoted to the sport of Formula One, with great cars and drivers being portrayed realistically, while sets were created to replicate tracks that have either been gone or changed dramatically over the years. Both Brühl and Hemsworth portray Lauda and Hunt to the fullest, with Brühl even attending the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix with Lauda to get the mannerisms right and Hemsworth making a video pitch speaking the way Hunt did to convince Howard and Morgan he was right for the job. Wilde is also believable as Miller, as the photos of Miller at her wedding look exactly like Wilde does in the film.
“Rush” is a fantastic film with the right amount of action to satisfy the casual filmgoer and the right amount of racing facts to satisfy the diehard racing fan. I have been watching Formula One racing for almost 15 years now, and Hunt is a personal hero of mine. I found the movie not too heavy on facts, but also not overly reliant on fictional situations to move the plot along. The perfect racing movie for everyone has finally arrived. Oh, and keep an ear open for mention of Brett Lunger, the only Formula One driver from Delaware. Lunger played a key role in the real action in 1976, and it is a high honor to hear his name used in the film.