Wednesday, October 09, 2013

"Rush": a review in under 300 words

“Rush,” by director Ron Howard, is the story of two racing champions, Englishman James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda. The plot, told mostly in flashback, concerns the two men’s fierce competition during the 1976 racing season. Hunt is brash and intuitive, a natural who has bad luck with faulty cars, but who is a guaranteed winner when all the random factors break his way. Lauda is his diametrical opposite: precise, technically astute, and gifted with his own mechanic’s intuition. Hunt and Lauda first meet during a downscale Formula 3 competition; Hunt wins. Lauda eventually gets a loan and buys his way into the big leagues: Formula 1 competition, and sponsorship from none other than Ferrari. Hunt follows suit, and in 1976, the two meet again. And again.

As you might expect, the rivalry slowly evolves into a friendship, but the movie never over-sentimentalizes this, instead placing constant emphasis on the racers' contrasting styles and worldviews. Chris Hemsworth’s Hunt is a party boy, living as fast and loose off the racetrack as he does on it. Daniel Brühl’s Lauda, more focused and introverted, and often blunt to the point of being considered an asshole, falls for Marlene Knaus; Hunt, meanwhile, marries British supermodel Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) on an apparent whim.

Is “Rush” a movie about racing or a movie about two men? I’d say the latter. The racing scenes are well filmed, although not as exhilarating as I’d expected. Hans Zimmer’s score was also unhelpful: it was essentially his Batman work, but without the thundering bass. The story contains enough flirt-with-death tension to maintain interest (for those of us who know neither driver’s biography), but I didn’t leave the cinema with an adrenaline-fueled need to speed. There was no rush from “Rush” for me. Still—a movie worth seeing.


1 comment:

John from Daejeon said...

If you get a chance, check out "The Conjuring." Great atmosphere, music, and direction. I saw it and "Rush" today. "The Conjuring" greatly impressed me (when I expected not to be), while "Rush" did the opposite, but I grew up on Ayrton Senna and 2011's brilliant documentary film proves that it's hard to improve on near perfection. It would have been better if Ron Howard would have gone the documentary film route as well, but it's doubtful that there would have been as much film of those two older generation drivers back in their early careers as there is of Senna and his main rival, French driver, and four-time Champion, Alain Prost.