Written by: Peter Morgan
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde
Story: Based on the true story of rival Formula One drivers Niki Lauda (Bruhl) and James Hunt (Hemsworth) in their 1976 race to be World Champion.
Feedback from friends, family and the grapevine tells you long before you watch ‘Rush’, that F1 finally has a spectacular movie. They have certainly picked the right story to tell, with the 1970’s being widely regarded as the ‘hey-day’ of this thrilling and often death defying sport. ‘Rush’ gives us a retelling of one of the most famous rivalries in sport at it’s most intense.
Before watching this, we thought that a few things were strange. First off, having Spanish born Daniel Bruhl playing Austrian Niki Lauda; and Australian Chris Hemsworth playing British racer James Hunt seems quite the risk. Secondly, with a Director such as Ron Howard who’s resume includes ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ and ‘Cinderella Man’, we are given no real clue as to which way this film could go.
Our doubts were somewhat laid to rest.
Howard did a spectacular job of trusting cinematography to Anthony Dod Mantle (‘127 Hours’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’) who creates visually stunning, action packed sequences. The cinematography can oftentimes make you feel slightly unearthed, as if you are in fact in the car with these drivers which pulls us to become more attached to the story. Coupled with Hans Zimmer doing another incredible job in scoring the film, the whole thing seems to be on the right track.
Hemsworth and Bruhl are both commendable in their roles, particularly Hemsworth acting with a maturity that we have not seen from him before. ‘Rush’ makes him less the action hero, and more the human. Bruhl and Hemsworth together prove that this film is about more than just sports, it is about the other aspects of life that make a man a true hero.
So why, we must wonder, has this film been overlooked by the Academy?
There are a few reasons. Firstly, the Academy’s notoriously bad memory ensures that a film released so early in the year will fail to be recognised, much like ‘Lee Daniels: The Butler’. Additionally, ‘Rush’ gives us exactly the same problem as suffered through in ‘American Hustle’: Neither one of the protagonists is in any way likeable.
When we are creating a film about rivalry, sportsmanship and competition then the audience needs someone to cheer for. Not only are we given here nobody to cheer for, but we are given two men who lack the empathy, humility or compassion that would make them worthy of anything but losing. Anyone who was party to this rivalry as it happened in the 70’s may feel a certain patriotism or favour to one of these men, however if you were not then you will most likely find your enjoyment suppressed by these characters.
Film is all about personal taste. If you are a fan of Formula 1 racing then you will perhaps rate this movie higher than others. Personally, I waited for two hours to find some sort of redeemable quality in either one of our protagonists and was left sorely disappointed.