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[Review] – ‘Rush’

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 13th September 2013
 
Director: Ron Howard
 
Writer: Peter Morgan
 
Cast: Chris Hemsworth – Daniel Brühl – Olivia Wilde
 
Direction
 
 
 
 
 


 
Writing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Performance
 
 
 
 
 


 
Sound & Music
 
 
 
 
 


 
Cinematography
 
 
 
 
 


 
Editing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Visual Effects
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/5


User Rating
6 total ratings

 


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Posted January 19, 2014 by

 
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Review:

As a child we probably all had that one toy that was kept on the top shelf – to be revered and not touched. More often than not, a part of that reverence has seeped into many other aspects of life. I once bought an album by my favourite artist, but couldn’t bring myself to open it for a good six months. It took me two more months to actually listen to it. All this for fear that it wouldn’t live up to its predecessors.

I had a similar sensation with ‘Rush’, the Formula 1 racing film directed by Ron Howard. I watched it in the cinema when it came out and enjoyed it, but as its VOD release date neared, I worried, I fretted and I resisted. And then, I gave in.

‘Rush’ follows the epic rivalry between British driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) during the 1976 F1 season. The two were friends off the track, but fierce competitors on it. Set against the backdrop of what many consider the golden age of Formula 1 racing, Howard’s film, written by Peter Morgan (‘The Queen’, ‘Frost/Nixon’) focuses squarely on the two rivals. We are introduced to these two pernicious, temperamental risk-takers who are worlds apart when it comes to their personalities. They are each other’s foils, goading and driving each other on.

Formula 1 can be a difficult sport to film – there are more than 20 drivers in a race, racing over fifty laps, for more than 300 kilometres. To bring forth the urgency and the adrenaline rush that is a prerequisite in a sports film, Howard humanises the characters, incorporating gentle spurts of humour, puts a lot at stake (life and limb) and dramatises the competition. And there you have it, instant goosebumps and a fair few tears of joy and triumph. And yes, it helps that it was all for real forty-odd years ago. Lauda and Hunt were part of a group of crazy men willing to risk everything for that adrenaline rush. It’s what they lived for.

Though one could argue that the telling of this story is conventional – two narrators, two different points of view, one goal, to become world champion – one cannot fault the ingenuity with which the film is shot. Howard places cameras inside the drivers’ helmets and uses several camera angles similar to those employed during actual races. With the addition of title cards for the races and the results, the film often feels like a genuine live race. Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle works some Oscar-worthy magic in this film.

Another incredible aspect of the film was the uncanny casting. Brühl and Hemsworth look like carbon copies of the original men and embody the passion of the drivers completely. They mark the film with their burgeoning potential. Brühl has already bagged a SAG nomination for his work, but has unfortunately missed out on an Oscar nomination.

‘Rush’ is a fairly commercial tale that boils down the intricacies of the characters’ relationship to their racing rivalry. But it is also about how incredible the human spirit is. It’s a feel-good film, because there are triumphs and achievements for both our protagonists.

Watching the film a second time reiterates what a great draw sports films are. We like and loathe the characters at the same time and bask in their triumphs and tragedies, as well. I’ll admit that I really do love the film – it’s easy to get immersed in. It’s painful and enjoyable, but most importantly, it’s thrilling. It captured the essence of F1 racing, which could easily be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike. And, seriously, how can you not fall in love with a film that has this pithiest of sayings in it – “A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends”?

Can I go as far as saying it was definitely one of the best of 2013? Apparently not according to the Oscars. ‘Rush’ hasn’t received a single nomination, not even for its brilliant actors or its outstanding cinematography. The snub is especially painful as there are nine nominations, and the last slot could easily have gone to ‘Rush’. However, Academy voters obviously didn’t see it that way. Why, Academy, why? I think I’ll just drown my sorrow in another viewing of the film.

 

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Lestat de Lioncourt
Random Thoughts – Lestat’s Blog
@EnsignLestat58
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