Stars: Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Olivia Wilde
Director: Ron Howard
Genre: Action-Adventure/ Drama
There is a reason why those new car commercials on TV have some stunt driver careening wildly around hairpin curves, and turning doughnuts in a cloud of dust. It speaks to the inner race car driver (or maniac) in most of us. That's why you don't have to be a racing fan to get off on Rush, Ron Howard's new film based upon the true story of Niki Lauda and James Hunt--rival drivers at the top of their game on the Formula One racing circuit back in the seventies.There is something primitively sexual about the deafening roar of an engine that will propel you around the track at 170 mph. That's why race drivers are surrounded by beautiful women. (Danica Patrick, not sure.)
Hunt and Lauda were polar opposites. Englishman Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) was a pretty boy. A wild party-goer and a womanizer who hacked his guts up at the track before each race--presumably out of nervousness, or maybe it was just carried over from the night before. (And in the name of realism, we get to witness it multiple times.) Lauda, (Daniel Bruhl) an Austrian, was the cold, analytical type who knew how to tune his cars to make them go just a little faster than the competition. He tried to calculate the odds of getting killed in any given race in terms of a percentage figure.
With those engines roaring in your ears, jump-cut editing that matches the frenetic pace of the track, and an exhilarating music score from Academy Award (R) winner Hans Zimmer, Rush puts you in the driver's seat to experience all the heart-pounding, bang-up action--and there is plenty of it-- of the 1976 duel between Hunt and Lauda for the Formula One world championship.
Of course, there's more to the film than that. It's a poignant tale of two rivals who drive each other to be the best that they can be, and in that sense--much like the legendary thoroughbreds Affirmed and Alydar--they feed off of each other
I did a little research and found that the film sticks pretty close to the facts, except for portraying these guys as snarky adversaries with nary a kind word to utter to one another, at least in the beginning. In truth, Hunt and Lauda were friends.
I'm going to declare Rush as the Rocky of racing films--in future years I think it will be regarded as such. And in a supporting role, Lauda's wife, Marlene, (Alexandra Maria Lara) makes a fine Adrian, as she gazes upon her man putting his life on the line,
( forty-nine drivers have perished driving a Formula 1 car) outwardly composed, but her eyes reveal what her body language tries to conceal.
For some, the closer they come to death, the more alive they feel. That would be the only way to explain why these hyped-up adrenalin junkies keep tempting fate the way they do. Lucky for you, all you need do is survive the city traffic and get to a theater to experience one danged realistic rush of a movie.