Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Top Gear; Film of the weekRon Howard's Biopic about James Hunt Thrillingly Captures the Sensations of Formula 1 Motor Racing and the Driver's Intense Rivalry with Niki Lauda

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Top Gear; Film of the weekRon Howard's Biopic about James Hunt Thrillingly Captures the Sensations of Formula 1 Motor Racing and the Driver's Intense Rivalry with Niki Lauda

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlotte O'Sullivan

RUSH Cert 15, 123 mins RON Howard's latest movie is about the rivalry between two racing legends. It should, in theory, be a chore for anyone who hates inspirational sports movies. It should be torture for those who disapprove of Formula 1. Yet Rush finds unexpected angles and blasts its way to victory.

Writer Peter Morgan has many gifts, perhaps the greatest being an ability to transform famous figures into underdogs. Gordon Brown in The Deal; Elizabeth II in The Queen; Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. Now it's the turn of Austrian racing driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl).

The three-times F1 world champion was born rich and got richer but, in Rush, we root for him as if he were the wretched of the earth. Why? Because he has a charismatic nemesis and here, the shiny "it" person is Britain's James Hunt. We all know what it feels like to be outshone. Go, Niki!

Hunt is played by 30-year-old Chris "Thor" Hemsworth and the Australian (whose upper-class accent never falters) delivers his smart-alec lines with just the right kind of intensity.

When Hunt has a row with his model wife, Suzy (Olivia Wilde), he makes reference to her "vapid mush", and he's frustrated by corporate sponsors who use pretty faces to flog products. His Mr Toad backer calls him a "superstar"; his colleagues refer to him as an "immortal fuck".

But Hunt is more than that. He's a rebel with a bit of a cause -- no wonder Lauda (gauche and anally retentive) hates him on sight.

By the time the pair prepare to race each other at the German Grand Prix, in 1976, we're desperate for Lauda to win. He's acquired a lovely wife (Alexandra Maria Lara) and is ahead on points, but he still feels like the loser. It's here that the film delivers its masterstroke.

Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle has worked in horror, sci-fi and comedy -- whatever the genre, he creates impressionistic visuals in which time and space appear to unravel. …

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