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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: Rush

The Fast Lane is the Only Lane

By Chris Sabga



Release Date: September 27, 2013 – U.S.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Biography
Running Time: 123 minutes
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, 
Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, 
Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, 
Natalie Dormer, Stephen Mangan, 
Alistair Petrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt, 
Colin Stinton


The best films make you more interested in their subject matter; they compel you to rush out of the theater and find out everything you can about them. "The King's Speech" was that way for me; after it was over, I wanted to know all I could about George VI. Now I'm on a quest to learn as much as possible about James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Lauda (Daniel Brühl) were real-life Formula 1 racing rivals in the 1970s. "Rush" is their story.

It's a character study of who Hunt and Lauda were as men. No interest or understanding of F1 is required.

Hunt is portrayed as handsome, charismatic, arrogant, and reckless all in equal measures. He's a playboy and party animal who is the center of attention wherever he goes. Lauda is serious and meticulous, cold and distant. What he lacks in good looks and a winning personality, he more than makes up for by having an insatiable drive and iron focus.

Their approaches to their chosen sport are as different as they are. Hunt goes into each race as if it's a game of Russian Roulette. Every lap may be his last. He realizes he's driving a "bomb on wheels." Lauda is far more grounded, with an eye for the smallest detail and a view of the big picture. Risks are inevitable – but unnecessary, irresponsible ones should be minimized.

Despite their differences, they both have one thing in common above all: they believe they're the very best at what they do. That resolute ego is what made them rivals – and legends.

The real-life Niki Lauda and James Hunt
Racing is in their blood. Despite having alternate paths laid out for them, they can do nothing else. They don't know how to. This is their talent and their passion. 

I didn't think twice about Formula 1 racing before seeing "Rush," but the performances of Chris Hemworth and Daniel Brühl made me care. It's easy to see why Hemsworth was cast as Thor: he's larger-than-life with a personality that radiates through the screen. Brühl is every bit as effective despite being lower-key and initially much less likeable. It's amazing how well Hemsworth and Brühl captured the people they were playing.  

The movie is much like Niki Lauda himself: straightforward, no frills, all business. Ron Howard has never been the flashiest director, but he's always had an eye for good stories. The rivalry between Hunt and Lauda is utterly captivating, not because of scores on a board but because of who they were. 

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