Directed by: Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Bastards) and Olivia Wilde (Deadfall)
One man is a womanizing, drinking, party animal with pure talent and guts and his name is Thor. Actually it’s James Hunt (Hemsworth). The other is a methodical, ruthless, socially awkward man who meticulously calculates everything he does. The two naturally hate eachother whence they meet and end up on a long journey trying to prove to the other who’s way works best when it comes to the extreme dangers of Formula One Racecar driving. It’s all based on the true story of rival drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda (Bruhl).
Watching Hunt at work on the ladies makes for a good time as well as his insane antics before and during the races. There’s even a fun Thor reference when another driver calls him a rumored legendary god in the bedroom. He takes a swig of alcohol and a drag of what looks like illegal substance at one point right before throwing up and jumping behind the wheel for a race. It’s always party time when Hemsworth is on the screen to our enjoyment and those around him, even if it eventually will lead to his own detriment.
Nikki on the other hand is also acted quite well by Bruhl but the character was harder for me to attach to. His story is that of a man with an extremely wealthy father pushing him to join the family business and refusing to believe he can make it as a driver. Nikki uses this as his chip on the shoulder to be cold to anyone around him and ultra serious in all his endeavors. It would work better for me if his situation were more desperate but it’s not like the guy comes from that hard of a life. He’s driven, no doubt. However his reasons just aren’t the stuff inspiration is made of and ultimately becomes predictable.
From watching the trailers for Rush one would assume it’s mostly about the trials and tribulations of the wild and crazy James Hunt however one would be wrong. It seems almost as if Director Ron Howard favored Lauda’s character un-intentionally. The story is actually told through Lauda’s narration portraying Hunt as this larger than life study from afar. It’s an interesting concept but in the end it keeps the audience at arm’s length from a character we want to know more about. There is the marital troubles he faces with Suzy, the model he marries on a whim that is well portrayed by Olivia Wilde. For a moment it seemed as if their issues would provide a deeper look into Hunt’s psyche however it’s all for naught as he is generally un-phased by the wrecking ball they become. All we really know is that both drivers are driven to be champions and prove the other wrong. It makes for a good time every once in a while as they continuously duel verbally and behind the wheel, even if it doesn’t leave time for much else.
Make no mistake though, Rush is crafted well. The realistic yet somehow super stylish sights and sounds of the racing atmosphere is proof of Ron Howard’s talent as a Director. It remains intense without overkill which is rare for a movie about such an explosive character and sport. The attention to detail in even the smallest role characters and their intentions makes it easy to understand why some are talking Oscars for Rush even if in the end I don’t exactly agree. Rush has the look and the acting performances but lacks enough suspense in its most action packed moments and has too little depth in its two leading characters. Rush looks the part but ultimately doesn’t have enough personal depth to be as moving as I’d wanted it to be. The film kept hinting at making an emotional impact but never really made it across the finish line. (Boom, racing pun. Sorry)
Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie