imagesRUSH UK Quad final
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde
Directed by Ron Howard
In UK Cinemas September 13th, 2013

by Joanna Orland

Biopics are all the rage these days.  The latest finding its way to cinemas is Ron Howard’s Rush, based on the lives and rivalry of 1970’s Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda.  You don’t have to be a fan of Formula One or even know who Hunt and Lauda are to be enthralled in the tension and thrills of this film.  It is stylized with 1970’s Formula One allure, fascinating characters, and high octane action.  Hemsworth and Bruhl get completely lost in character in their portrayals of Hunt and Lauda respectively.  There are times it may seem like a parody, notably in the redundant character narrations that are sporadically and pointlessly included in this film.   Don’t be distracted by the terrible voice-overs, the acting gets better throughout, and by the end, the audience is fully engrossed and involved in the rivalry between the two race car drivers.

For those not familiar with the true story, James Hunt and Niki Lauda were fiercest of rivals in the 1970’s Formula One circuit.  It was in 1976 in particular that their rivalry had hit its peak with the rather anal retentive Lauda defending his title of World Champion to fame hungry playboy Hunt.  If you can get past the fact that everybody in this film is an asshole (in the words of Bruhl’s Lauda), it is such an engrossing film.  While Hemsworth as Hunt has top billing, it is most definitely Bruhl as Lauda who is the true star of this film.  He plays one of the most stubborn, serious, humorless characters ever portrayed on screen, yet somehow he has the audience rooting for him all the way through.

In many ways it actually works better not knowing the full true story, much as how I went into this film screening blindly.  I was genuinely surprised and touched by the twists and turns of their 1976 battle, and in spite of the cast of assholes involved, at some points it even felt like a classic Ron Howard feel-good film.  Some biopics get lost in the timeline of the story, but this one triumphs in building detailed and complex characters, keeping the action exciting, and focusing more on being a film rather than a detailed biography.

On the surface, Rush may seem like it’s one for the Formula One fans, but don’t be fooled as it’s definitely more of one for the film fans.

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