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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Movie Review: Rush

Rush, debuted in theaters in the United States on September 27, 2013 to great anticipation and fanfare.  Rush was released on DVD on January 28, 2014.  Wild Banshee rented it immediately so that I could share my thoughts with you all.

Directed by Ron Howard, Rush is the first big budget racing movie since Days of Thunder in 1990, and the trailers played before all the big summer blockbusters.  The film documents the real-life Formula One racing rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.  A majority of the film focuses on the 1976 championship battle between the two contrasting personalities.  As far as the plot is concerned, I am not going to provide any spoilers here.  If you are a F1 fan, then you probably already know what transpired during the epic championship battle of 1976.  If not, Google will answer any questions you may have.

While the 1976 F1 season is interesting in its own right, like most sports films, the movie is really about the men who played out the drama.  James Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth, is depicted as a flamboyant British playboy who races hard and lives even harder.  The Austrian Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Bruhl, is depicted as an all-business, mechanically meticulous individual.  James Hunt died several years ago, so we are not privy to his thoughts on the film.  Niki Lauda, however was intimately involved in making the film.  For the most part, Lauda vouches for it's factual accuracy as well as its tonal depiction of the two men.

From a visual standpoint, the movie flat-out looks cool.  The coloring and cinematic style choices give the movie an authentic, mid 70's feel.  Then of course there is that iconic 1970's hair.  The racing footage is riveting and unique.  The events of the 1976 F1 season are also compelling.  But, what drives most great sports films is the characters.  And, this is where Rush falls short.  The film is rated R for a reason.  And that reason is the way that both men speak and act.  Neither Lauda nor Hunt are particularly likable characters.

In conclusion, Rush is an interesting story, and it looks good on the screen.  Although the characters are not emotionally compelling, those two facts alone make the film worth the price of a rental.


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