You don’t really need to be an F1 racing fan or even be aware of what actually goes on in that sport to truly appreciate this film because what it depicts in its two hours of runtime isn’t something that is exclusive to this very sport; It’s about how our rivals sometimes bring out the best in us when we have got something to defend or overcome. One of the best sports dramas to come out in recent years, Rush is a surprisingly good & highly satisfying ride that delivers the goods in just the right doses with its vibrant pace, intense action, arresting music & solid performances from its lead actors.
Based on true events, Rush is an ingenious recreation of 1976 Formula One season and recounts the intense F1 racing rivalry between James Hunt & Niki Lauda. James Hunt is a gifted but cocky British playboy who prefers to live each day to its fullest & gets his kicks from the fear of death while on the racetrack. Niki Lauda is a proud but calculating F1 racer who prefers taking his job seriously and relies on his technical knowledge of this sport, disciplined professionalism & precision timing. Their rivalry begins in the 1970 Formula 3 race & intensifies in the later years as both become highly obsessed with outperforming the other one for the F1 championship.
The direction by Ron Howard is brilliant but just like his previous films, he plays safe yet again by moving Rush along the safer routes of conventions but does an outstanding job nonetheless. The screenplay by Peter Morgan captures the accuracy of these real events pretty well but, just like any other film based on a true story, a bit of artistic license is taken to amplify some dramatic sequences. Plus, the authentic set pieces, vivid cinematography & concise editing only added more depth to this amazing film. And finally, Hans Zimmer once again delivers with a fabulous score that infuses an energy of its own into this film & makes Rush a tense but exhilarating ride.
Coming to the acting department, there isn’t much to talk about apart from two really impressive performances by Chris Hemsworth & Daniel Brühl, who play James Hunt & Niki Lauda respectively. Hemsworth proves that he is much more than just good looks and nicely captures the cockiness, arrogance, dry humour & devil-may-care attitude of his real-life character. But still, the real show-stealer of this film turned out to be Daniel Brühl’s near-perfect rendition of the Austrian legend by nailing the accent, mannerism, seriousness, professionalism & even looks to quite an extent. Apart from the rivalry, the movie also focuses on their personal lives & how even that plays a vital role in their sport.
On an overall scale, Rush is a welcome entry in what has been a lacklustre year for movies, so far. It has its share of flaws but most of its footing has been correct. There are moments of slight dullness in the first half but it quickly makes up for that with its energetic & furious second half. The race sequences are pure edge-of-the-seat stuff which is considerably aided by unusual cameras angles & excellent job in sound mixing & sound editing departments. Retelling the fierce F1 feud between the two absolute best but entirely opposite personalities, along with their underlying admiration & resentment for each other, Rush is a finely crafted work that treats its subject matter with respect & easily ranks as one of the best films of this year.