RUSH: A GREAT MOVIE (AND NOT JUST FOR PETROLHEADS!)
All film plots are premised on duality – the struggle of good against evil, hope against despair, and honour against duplicity – and I have trouble thinking of a film where this is more starkly portrayed than in ‘Rush’.
Rush tells the story of the epic confrontation between the brash, hedonistic and passionate James Hunt and the sober, calculating and oh-so-disciplined Nikki Lauda when the two vied to win the Formula One championship in 1976. That this is a film based on real-life events makes the contrast between the two lead characters all the more vivid and all the more fascinating. And ‘vivid’ and ‘fascinating’ are exactly the two adjectives needed to describe ‘Rush’.
Director Ron Howard (with the assistance some great cinematography, tremendous editing and a terrific soundtrack) has managed to capture the visceral quality of F1 in the ‘70s and to convey just how dangerous it really was. The final race scene – at a waterlogged Japanese Grand Prix – is a masterpiece both technically and emotionally: it is one of the few movies where I actually felt I was part of the action. Vivid indeed.
But it’s often the case in today’s movies that strong visuals are often accompanied by a flaccid script and one-dimensional characters. This is not the case with ‘Rush’. The central performances – Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Brühl as Lauda – were excellent, both actors managing to nuance their characters to suggest depth and doubt. The development of their relationship as it segued from intense dislike to grudging respect is what makes the movie such a fascinating watch.
Criticisms are minor. I thought Lauda’s repetition of the morbid statistic that every time he raced he had a 20% chance of dying was larding the danger on a little (apart from being mathematically inaccurate) and perhaps the final scene was a tad schmaltzy but other than that … nothing.
A great movie and one that I would highly recommend.