IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 123 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
In 1970, two young hotshot racing drivers are working their way up the leagues. They are the hedonistic, cocky Englishman James Hunt, who is sponsored by a rich cousin, and the methodical, reclusive Austrian Niki Lauda, who cobbles his own funds together to create his own team. They first do battle in a Formula 3 race where they collide and Lauda is taken off the track, leaving Hunt to win. Afterwards, the enraged Lauda goes over to Hunt and they row, lighting a fuse of personal dislike between the two drivers, a fuse that refuses to die when they reach Formula 1….
Though I try to review a wide range of movies because I like to go and see a wide range of movies, I have recently embarked on a programme of attempting to keep short and sweet reviews of films that may feel out of place on a website called Horror Cult Films with lengthy write-ups, thereby giving me more time to spend reviewing films that seem more appropriate. Therefore, this review of what is a sporting drama will be brief, but please don’t take that as an indication of its quality. Rush [the fourth film with this title] is one of the best films of its type and easily the best film about motor racing [not that there are a whole load of them]. It’s a glorious throwback to when the sport wasn’t just cars parading fast around a track, when races were actually exciting, when it was as much about the driver as the car, and when drivers were allowed to have larger than life personalities. The race sequences are truly thrilling and outstandingly directed [this is one subject when fast cutting and shaking the camera about is appropriate, though it’s not overdone] by a clearly revitalised Ron Howard, but they are just one part of a gripping tale which sometimes exaggerates and occasionally invents for example, Hunt and Lauda were actually good friends for quite a while and even shared a flat], but looks and feels totally authentic,so much so that occasional real-life footage is hard to detect unless you know it’s there.
The fast pace means that some things go by too quickly but never so you can’t appreciate the fantastic performances of Chris Hemsworth, an actor I’ve never rated before, and Daniel Bruhl, who virtually become James Hunt and Niki Lauda [Bruhl sounds exactly like him]. Peter Morgan’s script gives some idea of what makes people like them risk their lives in doing what they do, but doesn’t overdo the glamour either. A scene where Lauda’s scorched lungs are ‘vacuum cleaned’ might be one of the most horrific of the year. Even if you can’t stand motor racing [and I can understand that: I stopped watching it about ten years ago because it got so dull], Rush does what the best sporting dramas do: gives non-fans some idea of why fans love a particular sport so much, and makes tangible that most basic of human desires: the desire to win. And Hans Zimmer even writes quite a good score.