FILM REVIEW: Rush
Having grown up with my parents watching Formula One races but never really paying much attention, it’s safe to say when I went to see Rush I was only vaguely interested and armed with very little knowledge about the sport. As a result, I went with no expectations for the film but left impressed (but still with very little knowledge on Grand Prix!)
Based on a true story, Rush documents the intense rivalry between legendary drivers English James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and the Austrian Niki Lauda (portrayed by German actor Daniel Bruhl) during the 70s. The plot is primarily character led, exploring the complex relationship between serious, ambitious Lauda and popular and impulsive Hunt, who lives his life of pleasure in the fast lane. With both having a fiery passion for the dangerous sport, but personalities that are poles apart, it seems like the two men were destined to spectacularly clash.
In total, eight drivers died in the 1960s and nine in the 1970s during Formula One championships and practices so it’s true that both Lauda and Hunt put their lives on the line for their beloved racing. The relationship between Lauda and Hunt was undeniably complicated and perhaps even misinterpreted so understandably Lauda, still alive today, wanted a true portrayal of the roller coaster ride that was the 1976 racing season.
Speaking to The Telegraph’s John Hiscock, Lauda estimates that he must have been approached a staggering thirty times over the years by people wanting to tell his biography. It was only when the British screenwriter, Peter Morgan, asked him that he agreed, with Lauda reassuringly branding Morgan as: ‘Oscar nominations, good writer, top man.’
Lauda is also full of praise for Daniel Brühl’s portrayal himself telling Hiscock “I think he [Brühl] did an incredible job because when I first saw the movie, I said, ‘S—! That’s really me.”
Director Ron Howard (responsible for the genius that is The Da Vinci Code and sequel Angels & Demons) skilfully uses close up shots, spliced with white-knuckle, face-pace race sequences embedded with carefully placed, slow-motion and the roar of tires to bring the euphoria of a live Grand Prix to life.
But it’s not just the aggressive revving of engines that gets your blood pumping; this film has a deeper side. The narrative takes a step back when reality catches up with both men and follows the emotive events of Lauda’s tragic accident at the German Grand Prix 1976, in which he suffered third degree burns and his moving journey to recovery. Emotions are also stirred when Hunt’s short-lived marriage to model Suzy Miller ends in divorce.
So it wasn’t just the hungry growl of engines that was left ringing in my ears by the end of the film, but the respect for two very different but very dedicated and skilled racers. Emotional and exhilarating; I’d recommend this to everyone, whether you’re a Formula One fan, or if you just find Chris Hemsworth incredibly hot…
Watch the trailer for Rush below