Ron Howard’s film is indeed a rush – a heady and fascinating one. But, even though it’s about rivalry between two racing car drivers, the film isn’t an adrenaline rush. It’s a story of rivalries, relationships, adversity and triumph.
Rush tracks the story of the competitiveness between two young drivers who repeatedly clash on the Grand Prix tracks around the world leading up to the defining world championship battle of 1976. Based on a true characters and events, the film crescendos at Lauda’s near-fatal crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976.
Chris Hemsworth is delectable as the charming, womanizing, hedonistic vain James Hunt while Daniel Bruhl immerses himself into the part of the focused, no-nonsense Austrian Niki Lauda.
Fans of Formula 1 will love this but there is plenty of drama and glamour in this film for all moviegoers. Lauda’s return from the flames, the rollercoaster relationship between Lauda and Hunt, their romantic liaisons and diametrically opposite approaches to life and racing all make for riveting viewing. Howard does not dwell much on the cars, races and results. It’s the rivalry and drama that propels the narrative forward.
This world of flared pants, wide collars, booze and cigarettes is fabulously recreated along with the action on, and to the side of, the tracks. Hemsworth is the real surprise, replicating the British accent to near perfection, flicking back his long blond locks with appropriate pomp and filling those overalls deliciously. Bruhl is left with the tougher job – playing the seemingly cold, calculating, disciplined and unfriendly Lauda whose face is disfigured when his car is engulfed by fire. Kudos to writer Peter Morgan and Howard for making a biopic that does not paint uni-dimensional heroes.
In the early part of the film one character says: “Men love women, but even more that that men love cars.” And these men – Hunt and Lauda – prove that. The women in the film — Alexandra Maria Lara as Lauda’s silent and suffering wife and Olivia Wilde as Hunt’s wife Suzy who infamously had an affair with Richard Burton – really don’t have a lot of fun.
Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack and the combination of original compositions and rock tracks add another layer of thrill below the sound of engines revving and tyres screeching.