Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara
Plot: Based on the true story of the rivalry between F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda in 1976.
Review: Ron Howard has made some of the most memorable films in the last 20 years such as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Ransom just to name a few. Rush is a pretty solid addition to that list.
Rush follows the heated rivalry between British F1 driver James Hunt and Austrian driver Niki Lauda during the racing season of 1976. Howard shows how it began for the both of them back in Formula Three as they work their way up to the big leagues in F1. Their rivalry is shown not just on the track, but off as well.
The film also chronicles their personal lives and how different the two men are. Hunt is a brash yet charming party animal who loves sex and booze. Lauda on the other hand is a perfectionist who takes everything seriously, from racing techniques to car specifications. The only thing they have in common is their huge egos. Hunt's ego makes him hard to deal with on a personal level, as shown in his failed relationship with his wife, while Lauda's attitude makes him unpopular amongst his own crew.
Howard and writer Peter Morgan have done a splendid job in making this film. Their execution of the story is fascinating even to non F1 fans like myself. The races were very well filmed thanks to cameraman Anthony Dod Mantle, who gets many great shots from on the track, on the car, on the grass...you name it, he got it. The final race at the end, filmed in rainy conditions, was just beautiful to see. The personal story of the two men was well documented too, showing that despite their egos, they were ultimately human beings who are not infallible.
Chris Hemsworth plays James Hunt with a lot of charm and swagger, you would either love him or hate him, but you'll be impressed either way. Hemsworth's performance is almost similar to Thor but with less seriousness, and he's pretty solid in the role. Daniel Bruhl however impressed me just a bit more as Niki Lauda. Bruhl has improved tremendously from his time in Inglourious Basterds, here he plays a very driven man who really despises losing, up to the point that he is able to gather enough courage to come back after a huge accident. I liked Bruhl's performance a lot. Olivia Wilde is rather wasted in the small role of Hunt's wife, while Alexandra Maria Lara is better in comparison as Lauda's wife.
I was a tad disappointed that some of the races between the two men during the 1976 season was just skimmed through with the results being printed on screen. Perhaps this was Howard's way of saving time, which I get, but maybe a better way could have been used here. Hans Zimmer's music score was also very Dark Knight like, but I kinda dug it anyway.
I gotta say, Rush is a great movie that will appeal to movie fans including those who aren't racing fans. It's truly one of Ron Howard's best works. Recommended. (4/5)