A slick and thrilling sports biopic that’s crippled by an underdeveloped premise and poorly defined characters.
Set against the glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, Rush tells the true story of the great rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda. The story chronicles their distinctly different personal styles on and off the track, their loves and the astonishing 1976 season in which both drivers were willing to risk everything to become world champion in a sport with no margin for error.
Rush is a well directed entertaining movie with great performances. Chris Hemsworth is perfect as the likeable charming douchebag while Daniel Bruhl delivers a great performance as his methodical antagonistic arch nemesis.
The racing scenes are not technically groundbreaking – shots from the driver’s seat, cars passing by each other and weaving through corners and tight spots – but the cinematography, editing, sound and commentary made it exciting. The movie also borrowed a visual trick from Fast and the Furious – inside shots of the engine – which made it interesting.
While the leads did very well in portraying two well known race car drivers, their characters and their rivalry doesn’t have the dramatic weight needed to give this movie its gravitas.
Out of all the drivers there, you’re not given a convincing reason as to why Hunt and Lauda gravitated towards each other. Cockiness comes naturally in any competition.
Their lives off track is also poorly defined. Little is spent on their personal relationships. You’re left to assume that bad boy Hunt made a poor effort in maintaining his marriage, while Marlene somehow managed to love an unapologetic asshole after a serendipitous adventure at the countryside. Both actress who played the roles are severely underused – Olivia Wilde is just there to look pretty, while Alexandra Maria Lara spends most of the movie worried.
As a result, there’s no character to root for. It’s hinted that they’re rivalry probably stemmed from secretly envying each other, but its not fully explored. The movie doesn’t really deviate much from the formula – two opposing characters who share the same passion develop mutual respect for each other – with an ending bordering on bromance.
Nonetheless, Rush has the looks of a cinematic biopic and the engine of a well executed blockbuster movie.
My Rating: 7/10
PS: I did not comment on how realistic the movie looked because I have very limited knowledge of Formula 1 racing.