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DIRECTOR: Ron Howard
CAST: Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara
CLASSIFICATION: 16 SL NV
RUNNING TIME: 123 minutes
If you are a Formula One fan, and you know all there is to know about the sport, then you will enjoy Rush. You will obviously know all the top racers, from Nigel Mansell to young Lewis Hamilton.
You will probably know about the sport’s history as far back as the Seventies, when James Hunt and Niki Lauda had a fierce rivalry. That said, you might be critical of this film because it is chiefly about them.
However, in the event that you are not a fan of the sport then you’d probably enjoy this more and see it for what it is: a story based on true events.
We meet Hunt (Hemsworth) as a young driver from a modest family. He gets a racing car and tries his best to impress big racing companies including Ferrari and McLaren. But he is not the only 20-something wide-eyed dreamer.
We then meet Lauda (Bruhl) who from the start appears to be Hunt’s main competition.
The two drivers are the best of their generation, but it is unclear who is better. Hunt has great skills behind the wheel and is ever-so relentless on the road. Lauda may be almost as talented, but his added advantage is that he knows a thing or two about mechanics and can apply his knowledge to improving his car’s performance.
It is refreshing to see Hemsworth out of his Thor suit and trimmed down to a normal size. If this wasn’t the case he would probably not have been able to fit into the tiny race cars.
Apparently the real James Hunt was a party animal and Hemsworth manages to capture this well. From the drinking to the ladies, Hemsworth paints a picture of a maverick who had it all and didn’t know what to do with it.
Bruhl, on the other hand, portrays a much calmer Lauda who lives for racing more than anything else. Although he appears to hate Hunt, Lauda actually likes him and often plays the voice of reason part in his life.
The story is told from Lauda’s perspective with Bruhl narrating it throughout.
For the racing novice, you learn just what the fuss is about in Formula One. You get to under-stand technical things like why drivers take pit stops, why there are so many laps, how drivers communicate with their teams and the points system of a racing season. Essentially, Rush is a crash- course for all those who might want to learn about the sport.
However, the lessons come in a subtle fashion where more emphasis is placed on the story development than racing rules. It is not a Racing For Dummies handbook, but as you leave the cinema you might just be converted to liking the sport.
The director did a good job in spending equal time developing the characters and their feud off the racing course so you start to care for them and their actions on the race course in turn make sense.
This is a good effort from director Ron Howard.
If you liked Cars, Speed Racer and The Fast and the Furious franchise then you will like this.
Films’ fast cars driven by superstars
While the strong performances of the two leads in Rush have impressed critics, the racing scenes have also received much deserved attention.
The sequences are re-enactments of actual races,
so there is a definite air of
veracity about the performances since so many people still remember the real races.
Vintage cars and replicas were used during filming, which took place at the Nurburgring in Germany as well as circuits
If you like the rush (okay, yes, bad pun intended) of the racing then there are a few movies out there which not only delve into the racing world, but actually feature some really good sequences.
Truth in 24 (2008) is a documentary about Audi winning the 24-hour Le Mans, narrated by Jason Statham. Featuring real, unstaged races, it started off as an ESPN tv film and there is a sequel about the 2011 race, but this first one is a thrill-a-minute.
Grand Prix (1966) goes back
to the Formula One racing of the Sixties, with James Garner as
one of four racers who form the backbone of the story.
The races were staged, with mocked-up Formula Three cars made to look like Formula One models, and the film features some of the earliest experimentation with in-car cameras for Formula One. Unlike the three other actors, Garner was praised for his skill as a driver by real drivers, apparently also by Graham Hill.
Also on the documentary side there is the biographical Senna (2010), which features real footage and awesome racing from the Brazilian racing driver, Ayrton Senna, who remains the last driver to die in Formula One.