Review: Rush (2013, Ron Howard)

Rush6RATING: 9/10

Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Alexandra Maria Lara, Olivia Wilde, Pierfrancesso Favino, David Calder, Christian McKay
Screenplay: Peter Morgan

No matter who the haters are, I’m going to stand behind this film and say that “Rush” is certainly one of Ron Howard’s best films. Maybe at par with “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) and “Apollo 13” (1995). This is one film I completely brushed off because of its subject matter, but upon viewing it, I was in awe. Not only of the spectacular visuals (the costumes and sound were my particular favourite thing about it technically), but “Rush” was exciting, fun and features one of my favourite performances of the year – Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda. And not to mention, Chris Hemsworth, surprised me as well.

Based on the 1970s feud between Formula One drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda, the movie goes into the years of their battle and which of the two will win over everybody. Hunt, a British born free spirit or Lauda, the hard German aristocrat with an overly ambitious and condescending personality. Peter Morgan pens a script that has more heart in it then I ever expected. The film became more then just a race car film, but a riveting tale of two men who want to succeed as the best in life and in their sport.

Ron Howard’s direction is perfect for this. Though I haven’t been particularly fond of Howard’s previous works (with exception of the two I just previously noted), this lays as one of my favourites from the Academy Award winning director. He brought excitement and interest onto the screen, and creates a rivalry for the ages. Thanks to his two very capable actors who brought to life these real life men in such perfection.

Hemsworth, may have been the biggest reason in why I wanted to avoid the film entirely at first. His “Thor” isn’t exactly loveable stuff, and his terrifying and horrendous work in those “Snow White” movies have made him an actor that I didn’t enjoy seeing on screen. But “Rush” makes you want more of him. He produces a very capable leading man performance, and shows that he’s got some real acting chops in his back pocket. I can’t wait to see his next film, which again is with Ron Howard. However, it really is Daniel Bruhl’s show.

German actor Daniel Bruhl is quite a revelation in the film. Though his makeup helps him get into the character of Niki Lauda, the truth in his performance was just tremendous. From the accent, to the facial expressions and stiffness, Bruhl’s performance was beyond enjoyable to watch. He was also complex, touching, and even though Lauda isn’t a likeable character at all, he grasps us onto his side. He demands the cameras attention, and it wants it. Bruhl IS “Rush”, at least for me he is.

If there’s one wish I could have had it is to have Bruhl’s character as the film’s ultimate focus. It would have been better that way, and not just brush him off as the apparent “supporting actor” they’re campaigning him for. Alexandra Maria Lara, who plays Lauda’s wife, was another interesting character that I would love for them to have gone deeper into. By giving Lauda the film’s main focus, then we would have had a remarkable supporting turn by Lara, if it meant having more screen-time.

I loved “Rush” and all the adrenaline, masculinity and testosterone it throws into it’s two hour plus run time. The technical side of the film was fantastic. Along with “Gravity”, it’s the best sounding film of the year, most definitely. The fast paced editing helped the stories narrative, and the production design was spot on. Remarkable work by those involved, and a very fun screening.

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