Rush.

1 Oct

Five months ago I posted a mini-review on the trailers I had seen for Ron Howard’s latest film Rush. I expressed my excitement for the forthcoming biopic, the casting of Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl and the posters…oh the posters. The only question I had was, is it going to live up the hype?

130910155412-rush-movie-poster-horizontal-galleryRush is based on the lives of Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 season in which the latter suffered extensive burns to his face after crashing at the Nurburgring in Germany, and explores their extensive history both as racers and as rivals. Beginning with a Formula Three race in 1970 at England’s Crystal Palace circuit where both drivers met and ending on Hunts victory over Lauda in the ’76 championship, the film is a high-octane ride that explores the risks you must take and the passion you must have to become champion.

British screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland) tells the story magnificently. In preparation for the film, and presuming that it would be a low-budget project, he wrote the story as a metaphorical race between Hunt and Lauda as people, but after seeing the film, even with the big-budget races thrown in, his unintentional method has worked perfectly. It is through the characterisation of Hunt and Lauda that we become enthralled by their heated relationship and the consequences that come out of their actions, particularly involving Hunt’s playboy lifestyle. Coupled with the directorial skills of Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) the film really is something special to watch. Camera angles from inside the drivers helmets give a real edge to what could have been generic F1 races, the use of narration adds a humanistic touch to Gladiator-style competition and the overall pacing of the film is anything but Rush-ed.

Rush-Trailer-movie-2013In addition to the sight and story of the film comes the sound. Composed by Hollywood’s go-to man Hans Zimmer, the music for Rush is beyond electrifying. After working on films such as Inception, Nolan’s Dark Knight series, Gladiator and The Lion King, Zimmer is no stranger to what makes an audience tremble with excitement and Rush reaps all the benefits from a man with over 20 years experience. The soundtrack is stunning and timed to perfection, creating highs and lows in all the right places. And when you put that alongside the sound of really, really, really loud car exhausts you have got yourself a recipe for ‘music to the ears’.

Most notably however are the performances. To paraphrase myself in my mini-review, I believed Hemsworth, who seems to be going from strength to strength (we can all forgive his acceptance of a role in Snow White and the Huntsman), was ‘undoubtedly going to prove to any cynics that he has what it takes to act’. And prove it he has. His performance as British playboy Hunt, a man troubled by his own self-expectancy and inability to commit to anything other than driving is powerful, at times humourous and deeply moving. Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara are stunning additions to the cast as love interests Suzy Miller and Marlene Lauda respectively. Lara plays her character with exceptional beauty and grace, while Wilde is a strong and confident presence in Hunts crumbling world of self-loathing. Bruhl however, steals the show. He plays Lauda as an uncompromising, competitive and deeply passionate young man who is determined to risk it all in order to pursue his dream. It is breathtaking to watch such a performance, particularly in scenes after the horrific crash where Lauda is attempting to put his helmet on over his burnt skin, and with the addition of Bruhl’s voice narrating the film, it is his shining moment from start to finish.

Rush-2013-MovieSo the question was, did Rush live up to the hype? I believe that it did. Howard’s film promises so much, delivers it and then gives you more. It is a wonderful portrayal of two men whose lives were at times tragic and at others inspirational and is a prime example that when all the elements come together – cast, screenplay, director – real magic can be made. Rush’s tagline reads ‘Everyone’s driven by something’ so if nothing else, I hope this review drives you to see the film.

Selling Point – Daniel Bruhl.

Quote-o-rama – Hunt to Lauda – ‘That wind you can feel is me breathing down your neck. Next time, I’ll have you’.

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One Response to “Rush.”

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  1. It’s all political – My Top 10 Political Drama’s | afewgoodfilmreviews - October 8, 2013

    […] Peter Morgan and director Ron Howard (most recently known for the Formula 1 based melodrama Rush) is also reunited. The story is beautifully told through their vision but what it truly triumphs in […]

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