Magazine article Screen International

Rush

Magazine article Screen International

Rush

Article excerpt

Dir: Ron Howard. UK-Germany. 2013. 122mins

Ron Howard's exhilarating and exciting delve into the fast and furious world of Formula 1 motor-racing is set against the backdrop of the sport during the 1970s, when everything about F1 was sexy, dangerous, edgy and thrilling. Taking the real-life rivalry between playboy British driver James Hunt and methodical Austrian Niki Lauda as its central story, Rush is the immersive, vibrant and gripping story of two men who were all abut winning.

Ron Howard directs impressively and seems to have a real feel for this most international of sports and is aided by a smart, clever and well structured script by Peter Morgan and wonderfully immersive cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle.

This independently made film brilliantly recreates the era, with Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl quite excellent as Hunt and Lauda. No doubt hardcore F1 fans may pick holes at certain aspects of the film (some tracks can never be replicated and staging crashes is notoriously hard), but petrol-head film fans will lap up a thrilling film that is driven by energy, intelligence and conviction.

Screening at the Toronto Film Festival and opening in the UK a few days later (it had its world premiere in the UK on September 2) the film is due a more limited release on the US later in the month via Universal, but in truth the very nature of F1 is that it is a truly international motor sport, and the film smartly plays on that aspect and should help it appeal to F1 and sports fans around the world. The success of documentary Senna showed there is an appetite for motor racing, and backed by good reviews Rush could well click with worldwide audiences.

The intense rivalry between Hunt (Hemsworth) and Lauda (Bruhl) during the 1976 championship is well recorded, as is the terrible crash that saw Lauda seriously injured and spend months in rehabilitation. But the film does not take the route of keeping that crash as a pivotal plot point, instead it simply forms part of the patchwork of incidents that helps define what drives these two very different men, which is actually the heart of Rush.

When the film opens, both men are struggling to make their way up through the ranks of the sport. Hunt relishes his playboy image while racing in Formula 3, backed by corpulent, upper class, champagne swiller Lord Hesketh (as lovely cameo from Christian McKay), he may well be all about the sex and cigarettes and booze (and always threw up before a race), but when he stepped into the car he was all focus and extravagant driving skills. Lauda, on the other hand, used family connections to get his drive, but his focus was on planning, precision and not taking undue risks. …

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