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Rush, a Compelling Drama


Review by Alyn Darnay

RUSH posterWritten and Directed by: Ron Howard

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Stephen Mangan, Christian McKay, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Jamie de Courcey.

There have been some great sports rivalry’s over the years, but none as dangerous or challenging as the one between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda on the International Race Circuit of the 1970s. So what better material could you draw from to make a biographical action film, and that’s exactly what two-time Academy Award winning director Ron Howard has done here.

I went into the screening expecting the best, what I saw was a good film, enjoyable to watch and compelling in drama, but sorely lacking in the spectacle and visual thrills it takes to make it a brilliant race film. Additionally, it’s a shame how a script that’s about the exciting world of Formula 1 racing and the intense competition between two very talented drivers, can just follow the standard uninspired formula of a Hollywood Film, and that’s the pothole “RUSH” hits.

Here’s the Storyline:

Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing, Rush relates the true story of the great racing rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt (Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian Niki Lauda (Bruhl).

“RUSH” peals back the veil of celebrity and takes us behind the scenes into the personal lives of the two drivers. It shows us their wants, desires, loves, flaws, and temperament as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, in a sport where there are no shortcuts to victory and no margin for error. Make one mistake…you die.


Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl in RUSH

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl in RUSH

For me, “RUSH” is a character study into the psyches of two men who only feel alive when they’re cheating death. This is not a new idea, nor is it new to the big screen. There have been some really great race films, John Frankenheimer’s “Grand Prix” (1966), Lee H. Katzin’s “Le Mans” (1971), and Tony Scott’s “Days of Thunder” (1990), each entertaining in it’s own right, each also a character study, but when it came to the race scenes, exciting with edge of the seat action. “RUSH” on the other hand has very little to do with the actual racing, and if you’re like me, that’s what you want in a race film.

As to the acting, both Hemsworth and Bruhl are perfectly cast and give remarkable performances, disappearing into their roles so well you believe they really are the two drivers. But, unfortunately, Olivia Wilde, a most talented actress, is totally wasted in her role as the supermodel that married James Hunt.

Director Ron Howard sets up a scene in RUSH

Director Ron Howard sets up a scene in RUSH

The direction, as in all Ron Howard films, is uniformly good. Here he grabs exactly the right note of the times with ease and keeps the story moving along at a good pace. I actually found the film to be poignant and interesting, though lacking enough thrills to keep me in the story. I kept studying the racecars, not getting into the tale.

My suggestion; go see it, but don’t Rush.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (out of 5) “RUSH” is R Rated, Running Time: 123 min

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