Fast cars, pretty girls and daring to do the impossible is what Formula One legends are made of. And when you throw a hotheaded rivalry into the mix you get a biopic like directors Ron Howard’s Rush.
In the seventies playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and calculating Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) drove the circuit, each daring the other to overtake, both desperate to win. The only thing these two very different men have in common is the desire to excel and achieve greatness, willing to push themselves and each other to the limit and even beyond.
Hunt, with his reckless ways and devil may care attitude, attracts the audience with his good looks and easy charm, but Lauda, with his analytical take and disciplined lifestyle is the more consistent driver.
In 1976 an extraordinary season unfolds. Lauda is in the lead, Hunt snapping at his wheels, but when a torrential downpour makes driving the notoriously dangerous Nürnburgring a deadly course, Lauda unsuccessfully calls for a drivers boycott, which seals his fate.
Rush is based on a true story but takes its fair share of artistic licenses to create a more vibrant, exciting view of the seventies. Hemsworth does a good job of portraying the rockstar-like image of Hunt, long golden locks and tight overalls completing the picture, however he is a little too James Bond and not enough Action Man.
But it is Lauda who is the more interesting character with his overbite and dry wit, and Brühl lets him shine through. Unlike Hunt, Lauda doesn’t drink and is careful about what he eats, he sees Formula One not so much as glamour but as sport. This makes the pairing of Hunt and Lauda all the more exciting and the explosive chemistry between Hemsworth and Brühl all the better to watch.
Rush is brilliantly filmed; you can nearly smell the fumes and the shimmering heat on the tarmac. Lots of close-ups of glistening chrome part, tyres and exhausts are the frame of a real life human story, one of daredevils and dreamers, of death and life and succeeding against the odds. Sensationally realistically filmed crashes and explosions, all set to 70s rock, heighten the experience but somehow create a car film that isn’t just about the cars.
You can’t help but be dragged in to this world of speed and adrenalin, fumes and friendship, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. So if you are willing to except that writer Peter Morgan may have taken a slightly romantic view of the seventies and Formula One, Rush is a great film to watch