Monday, October 7, 2013

A Reel Review: RUSH

The films of director Ron Howard always seem to be at their best when they deal with historical events and the people who took part in them. His newest film, RUSH, which tells the true tale of the fierce rivalry between two Formula One drivers in the 1970’s, is the perfect playground for Howard to play in.
James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), form a rivalry which defines their Formula One racing careers.

It would be a mistake to label RUSH as a racing movie, for Ron Howard has bigger plans for his two main characters. The film is all about Hunt and Lauda as they drive each other nuts and towards their destinies. Hunt is a flamboyant racer who bangs a new girl every night and risks his life on the track. Lauda is a methodical and calculating racer who has a wife and is cautious when behind the wheel of a race car. Both men are polar opposites on the track and in their personal lives, and it is here where Howard seems to have the most fun. Hunt and Lauda are both assholes with massive egos, and Howard develops the characters so well we can’t help but to love and hate them at the same time.
Outside of the strong characters, Howard has put together a beautiful looking film; at times stunning to gaze upon with many sequences difficult to believe. The racing is pulse-pounding without being over-the-top, and avoids any redundancy by not going on for too long. The look of RUSH gives it an indie-film vibe, and coupled with the characters it feels very intimate despite the largeness of the stakes and the racing. The spirit of the 1970’s is very much up front and every costume, actor, and setting feels right at home.

Screentime seems to be split evenly between Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. Both actors excel off of one another and are both superb. Olivia Wilde shows up for a brief turn as James Hunt’s short-lived wife; she looks and sounds great and creepily looks a lot like her real-life counterpart of the time, model Suzy Miller.
RUSH wraps up nicely, although the morality lesson Hunt and Lauda go through is presented in a heavy-handed manner; both characters basically stand there and tell us everything they’ve learned. By film’s end you still feel like you’ve known both characters for an extended period of time, and despite RUSH’s glossing-over of certain parts of their personal lives (like their marriages), the finish line feels very satisfying. Ron Howard has a lot of fun on this racetrack, and it’s very fulfilling to watch him do it.


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