With ticket prices so high, and funds so limited, I'm a lot pickier than I used to be when it comes to cinemagoing. Consequently, I tend to rely on filmmakers I trust, or if a film's received great notices and I kinda like the sound of it, I might give it a try.
Rush is directed by the versatile Ron Howard, who's been world-class for years now, and he's on top form here, generating propulsive energy from nearly every scene, whether on or off the racetrack. The film chronicles the famous rivalry between Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt.
It's a fascinating relationship. The two couldn't be more different, in life, in their approach to racing, and it's this constant friction that powers their individual--and combined--excellence. Without the other, neither would be as determined to excel. In their many brief scenes together, Hunt and Lauda seem able to instinctively pick each other's ego apart, as if they know what makes the other tick in ways that even their wives and friends do not. They're two sides of the same coin. Hunt can't stand his Austrian rival's stoicism, while Lauda despises his British opponent's flamboyant lifestyle; yet when they're behind the wheel, all that disappears, and it comes down to raw driving talent, of which both possess an equal amount, and moreover, they know it.
Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl match each other acting-wise as well. They're brilliant as Hunt and Lauda. Not a false note in the entire film. Scriptwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) weaves the parallel stories cleverly and punctuates his scenes with dialogue exchanges that chip away at what makes these two characters tick. Terse, pungent interplay is frequent and memorable.
Finally, the races themselves are some of the best I've seen. They roar to life, and would be downright frightening if they weren't so thrilling to watch (and hear). Lauda's stance against the more dangerous aspects of Formula One was admirable; lives were lost when they needn't have been, and the other drivers should have backed him up.
I can't recommend Rush highly enough. It's a gripping character study, a sophisticated sports movie, and is impeccably made and acted by all. In short, it's the best film I've seen so far this year. See it the first chance you get.
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