Not being a formula 1 fan – or really a fan of any kind of racing, I’m not quite sure why I was so interesting in seeing this film. I can’t really place my finger on it … who knows? I wanted to see it, I have seen it, and I’m glad I did.
Rush tells the true story of the 1970’s rivalry between Formula 1 competitors Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Running at just short of the 2 hour mark this film just manages to not out stay it’s welcome. The story is told mainly from Niki Lauda’s view although doesn’t feel biased.
I came into this film not knowing really what to expect – I didn’t know the story, I don’t know the sport, I was just interesting in hearing the story. Which as it turns out is a very interesting one. To be honest I would have been very disappointed if I had gone in to find an hour 45 of racing and 15 minutes of story- luckily it was the other way around. Rather than watching a literal car race, the story more felt like a race between the characters, which was a clever way to play it from director Ron Howard, and worked very well. And I have been informed by a friend who is a big Formula 1 fan, that the story was pretty spot on.
The film is played very well – the chemistry between Bruhl and Hemsworth was fantastic – they complemented each other very well, the hot headed Hunt to the methodically logical Lauda. I felt a lot of emphasis was placed on Hemsworth in the trailers, so thought this would be the James Hunt story, however, it is Lauda who grabs the attention (or at least my attention) and is the standout performance. Most likely Hemsworth was leaned on in the marketing of the film because he is bigger name in Hollywood than Bruhl.
Although the film is not biased towards either of the men in particular – I found myself rooting for Lauda. There was nothing inherently bad about Hunt, he was just a playboy who was out to have a good time and experience the thrill of staring death in the face. But it was Lauda who I was more interested in watching. His logical way of working and thinking was very captivating, and it was clear he was mind was always ticking over. One of my favourite parts of the film was when Lauda explains he doesn’t drive for the thrill – if he was better at, or could make more money doing something else – he would. It rang true with the way the character was portrayed – and perhaps is what makes him so interesting – that his attitude was so different to the majority of the other racers.
What is engaging about the story, is that the two rivals are so different from each other – yet so similar. Both are very confident in their own abilities, both think they are the fastest, both have an arrogance and a large ego. Yet, these identical traits are played so differently. Hemsworth’s Hunt is obnoxious, and someone I struggled to get behind – albeit a few times I did feel sorry for him, and even half supported him for a while whereas Bruhl’s Lauda is quieter in his arrogance, seeking to b respected and feared oppose to Hunt’s “look at me aren’t I fantastic” personality – Lauda was much more content is knowing he was the best rather than shouting it – although he does remind people every now and then as the film progresses. Very content with himself, he at one point asks Hunt if he thinks he is affected by the put downs about his looks, because he is not “yes rats are ugly, yes no-one likes them – but they are very intelligent and have a strong survival instinct”.
Olivia Wilde was particularly underwhelming in her role briefly as Hunt’s wife. I understand the character was needed to add depth to Hunt and help the audience (especially people like me who went in cold) understand the progression of the character – but her own personal impact on the movie was little to none. The role could have been played by a lesser known and had the same effect – although again I believe Wilde was used to help sell the film. Olivia Wilde is definitely an easily forgettable in this film.
There isn’t too much else to say about the film really. I feel as though this review isn’t really summing up how I feel about the film. I did really enjoy it. The story was very interesting, and played out very well – I am glad that I now know the story. I suppose that’s what it is, a great story – there is not as much speed and action as the trailer suggests, which I can’t say I’m too disappointed about. However if you’re after a rip-roaring speed-a-thon this possibly won’t be the film for you. There could have been maybe a little more excitement in the film, but I was too interested in the narrative to be that bothered by it. I wouldn’t describe it as “Tense and Thrilling” like the poster quotes do – but I suppose you wouldn’t sell a film to the masses as just “an interesting 2 hours”. Which is a shame, because for me, that’s what Rush was, and is it’s main selling point.
If you want to be taken in by a strong narrative, then give Rush a go – if you’re looking for something more exciting or thrilling, maybe try a different film.
Very interesting – a moderate 6.5/10. Glad I saw the film, and now know the story, but shan’t ‘Rush’ to watch again anytime too soon. (Sorry couldn’t help myself!)