You don’t need to know your Vettels from your Schumachers to appreciate ‘Rush’.
There comes a time in almost every young boy’s life when he dreams of becoming a Formula One racing driver.
My childhood is well and truly over but after watching Ron Howard’s (‘Willow’ and ‘Apollo 13’) ‘Rush’, my boyhood desire to be like Ayrton Senna was back with a bang.
Formula One racing is not to everyone’s taste but what Howard has done with ‘Rush’ is make the fascinating story of James Hunt and Niki Lauda accessible to a whole new audience.
The film is set in 1976 and recounts the gripping life-long rivalry between blonde-haired English playboy James Hunt, who sometimes had sex moments before a big race, and the cold, calculating and straight-laced Austrian, Niki Lauda.
Hunt is played by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (‘Thor’ and ‘Cabin in the Woods’) and it’s without question his best performance in a film to date. Hemsworth captures the charismatic alpha male perfectly. Hemsworth also manages to balance Hunt’s love for women, booze and cigarettes brilliantly with his utmost respect and adulation for Formula One racing.
Whilst Hunt is energetic and endearing, Lauda is enigmatic and gives very little away. Lauda is the more interesting of the two characters in the sense that it’s quite clear what makes Hunt tick but when it comes to trying to work out Lauda, he’s very much a puzzle.
Barcelona-born German actor Daniel Brühl (‘Goodbye Lenin!’ and ‘Inglorious Basterds’) is outstanding as the Austrian petrolhead, even if his accent is more Amsterdam than Vienna. Accent aside, he’s utterly believable as Lauda and the performance will almost certainly earn him starring roles in the future.
Peter Morgan’s (‘Frost/Nixon’ and ‘The Damned United’) contribution is a terrific example of real life inspiring a truly fantastic film script. Morgan presents Hunt and Lauda as polar opposites yet it’s almost impossible to decide which of the two drivers you want to see win.
The film’s money shots are the racing scenes. They may feel a little few and far between in the beginning and it’s not until the final few races that we are able to appreciate Howard’s vision.
The 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring is presented brilliantly by Howard and the sound of the movie is just awesome but the former ‘Happy Days’ actor leaves the best for last.
After defending champion Lauda returns from an horrific crash at the Nürburgring, the 1976 Drivers’ Championship hangs in the balance. If you’re a Formula One fan you know how it goes but if you’re not you’ll certainly struggle to decide upon who you want to win. The racing sequences, in particular the final race at Fuji in Japan, are amongst the best examples of cinematography and sound you’re likely to see and hear this year.
All in all, ‘Rush’ is furiously entertaining piece of cinema that will satisfy Formula One fans and Johnny-Come-Latlies alike.
‘Rush’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For full cinema listing visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com or telephone 028 7137 1999.
Verdict: 4/5 - Rush is remarkable in the sense that it appeals to both Formula One fan-boys and newcomers to the sport. It boasts tremendous performances from its leading men, Hemsworth (Hunt) and Brühl (Lauda).The racing sequences are a little too few and far between for the first hour of the movie but director Ron Howard saves his very best until last when he unleashes two back-to-back races in Germany and Japan. The sound is outstanding and the cinematography top class.