Photo courtesy of AP Images
The men responsible for Rush’s sometimes-uncontrollable pace are James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, The Avengers) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl, Inglorious Basterds), two titans of auto racing with two very different personalities that lead to a bitter rivalry. Formula One, unlike NASCAR, distinguishes itself with hairpin turns and narrow speedways. Drivers slip into their cars, or coffins as many believe. With every turn, a swipe at death that makes some drivers never feel more alive.
In order to delve into a character study of the two lead men, Director Ron Howard realizes the need to establish the atmosphere of a sport so radically and inherently dangerous. Weaving through a grainy, almost permanently dusty filter, Howard gets intimate with his speeding missiles of metal, providing first person perspectives as drivers barrel through turns to a subtly pumping Hans Zimmer score. At one point, Hunt visualizes an upcoming track, shifts phantom gears and presses imaginary petals as he storms through the blurry course.
It doesn’t hurt the movie to have two fine emerging actors jockeying for position in the same film. Hemsworth, whose claim to fame comes from his portrayal of a demi-god in Thor, slips effortlessly into Hunt’s charismatic flavor.
Meanwhile Bruhl, whose most recognizable role for Americans came in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, matches Hemsworth with a frustrated confidence, electrifying in his diligent persona.
To see a film saturated with life and color and energy and equal amounts of star power is refreshing. If Rush doesn’t cover the entirety of its dynamic pair, it at least corrals its most essential elements: the tire shredding and heart-bursting excitement of the Formula One lifestyle.
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