Rush: Rated “R” (2 hr. 03.)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Dormer, Daniel Brühl, Tom Wlaschiha
Directed by: Ron Howard
The Formula 1 racing rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda is legendary in racing circles, as the story has it these two speedsters just couldn’t go fast enough to beat each other, and spent a couple of seasons attempting to do just that. This is the story behind Ron Howard’s newest film, Rush. The film is set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing. The film really only hints at the exhilarating yet true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed in this sport. On the one hand there was the very handsome English playboy Hunt and on the other side was his very methodical and brilliant opponent, Lauda. The film taks us into their personal lives both on and off the track, following the two drivers as they push themselves past the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die, and Lauda almost did.
This is the kind of film that even people who aren’t fans of racing can appreciate. It has a very strong narrative and — interestingly enough — offers us as viewers no real villain. To be sure, common wisdom tells us that all successful narratives need to have both a hero and a villain. Only this tale offers us neither, this is simply a story about two men who wanted to go as fast as (in)humanly possible, and did so driving each other to go that much faster. Hunt the wild, reckless playboy, and Lauda, always deliberately, methodical who was so unlike the other drivers. Both of them sons of privilege who were disowned by their fathers because of their life choices.
Yep, this is a very engaging film (especially when one considered that Howard’s directorial debut was the “B” Roger Corman produce Grand Theft Auto (1977) for which Howard also wrote the script and starred in, was traded for Howard’s appearance in Corman’s 1976 film Eat My Dust). Yep, Opie has come far indeed.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.