Sports films, that unique and difficult genre in the world of cinema. It is difficult because most of the time, it is hard to reflect the complexities and emotions associated with a certain sport to the silver screen. Sports films are also difficult to create because of the fact that finding the right story to tell is such a massive task, which many films of this genre fail at. Gladly, Rush is no such film. Starring two of the finest actors of this generation and lead by one of cinema’s most gifted directors, Rush is easily one of the greatest films of this decade.
Rush is directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, and Olivia Wilde. The motion picture tells the unique and true story of the merciless rivalry between two Formula One rivals, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The film is an action-drama biopic that runs for two hours and three minutes.
Having a film based mainly on two characters is always a challenge but Ron Howard has done an excellent job in selecting his two leads: Chris Hemsworth as the british James Hunt, and Daniel Bruhl as the austrian Niki Lauda.
As the playboy and energetic James Hunt, Chris Hemsworth does a truly excellent job. I have been a fan of his ever since the first Thor film but he has really stepped up here and delivered a performance that is, up to this point, the highlight of his relatively-young career. Indeed, Chris lives and breathes James Hunt in every single scene. His mannerisms and expressions are spot on as he easily lets us into his troubled character’s life. Hunt struggles to balance his dream of driving a Formula One car with his love for parties and it is that tug-of-war that keeps him from fulfilling his full potential. I am really happy with Hemsworth’s work in Rush as it is never easy to make such an arrogant and obnoxious character a lovable one that audiences can cheer for. He not only does that but also lets us fully connect with James Hunt. It is a marvelous performance from Chris Hemsworth and one I did not expect him to accomplish with such a level of excellence.
As Niki Lauda, James Hunt’s fierce rival, german actor Daniel Brühl is the other actor who gives audiences one of the best performances in his career. I have liked Brühl’s previous films, especially the comedy Goodby Lenin (2003) as well as his role in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds (2009), but he really rises to new heights in Ron Howard’s Rush. Lauda is a calculating, calm, and quiet racer who treats the Formula One as a science for him to study and disassemble its different parts. It is that extra knowledge of the sport that enables him to become a success throughout the seasons and a leader in the sport. After an unfortunate event takes place in Lauda’s life, it is that determination within him that makes him able to come back to the Formula One scene to race once more. I enjoy the scenes between Brühl and Hemsworth the most in this film as the drastic differences between those characters makes for some spellbinding cinema. The chemistry between both actors is a big part of that and they both shine brightly in Rush. As with Hemsworth, Brühl proves he is a capable actor worthy of every film-goer’s attention.
That chemistry between both Brühl and Hemsworth is largely a success thanks to the film’s outstanding director, Ron Howard, and his ability to let both actors give off the performances of their lifetimes. As a big fan of Howard ever since his great films Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and Frost/Nixon (2008), I am truly happy that he has created yet another cinematic masterpiece that adds to his already-impressive filmography. With Rush, it is Howard’s fantastic camera work that takes center-stage. The way he films the races, the interiors of the cars, as well as the overall visual look of the movie are things that elevate it to greatness. How he is able to do all that is a mystery to me but I will surely continue to enjoy that aspect of the movie more with each subsequent viewing. A truly remarkable directing feat.
We also having the screenplay that is as polished as they come. Written by Peter Morgan, who has also written the scripts for such excellent films as The Last King of Scotland (2006), The Queen (2006), and Howard’s film Frost/Nixon (2008), Rush unquestionably has one of 2013’s smartest, most electrifying scripts. As I mentioned earlier, the interactions between Brühl’s Lauda and Hemsworth’s Hunt are really wonderful, and that is mainly due to Morgan’s brilliant script.
I also enjoy the music in Rush as it contains a special selection of some of the ’70s’ best rock music along with the original orchestral score, composed by one of Hollywood’s most talented individuals, Hans Zimmer. Howard does a superb job in mixing the music with the film’s scenes, delivering a unique experience for viewers.
I have to admit that I have never been a fan of Formula One, nor will I ever, I think. There is something about that particular sport that is cold and mechanical that makes it hard for me to be attached to it on an emotional level. That is why I am honestly completely surprised by how much I really like Rush. It caught me off-guard and has managed to keep me thoroughly gripped in its events, to a point where I lost track of time. That is always a sign of a great film and Ron Howard’s Rush is definitely that. It is one of 2013’s very best of films. A movie that will continue to be as vibrant and entertaining as that first viewing. Of that, I am quite sure.
MATM Rating: **** out of ****
- Chris Hemsworth (as James Hunt)
- Daniel Brühl (as Niki Lauda)
2 hours and 3 minutes
Action / Biopic / Drama