Rush [2013] ★★★½


Nothing heats up the fall season like a Formula One movie directed by non other than Ron Howard (“Frost/Nixon”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Apollo 13”) . “Rush”, starring Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor) and Daniel Bruhl (in a performance of a lifetime) is a knockout. At first, you’d think a car racing movie about two rivals wouldn’t work at all. But it does work, spectacularly, as a matter of fact. It helps that the two drivers are Brit playboy James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Austrian legend Niki Lauda (Bruhl). Ancient history? Well, the rivalry took place in the 70’s, and we know the outcome in advance. All the more remarkable, then, that director Ron Howard has turned this part of history into a grabber of a movie packed with tension, stinging wit and potent human drama. In many ways the most important ingredient in this movie is the two lead actors. Without their charisma, the film wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. They really sink their teeth into their characters and it shows. Cheers too, for Howard and his cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, who managed to shoot a series of pulse pounding racing scenes with a tight budget. And so “Rush”, one of the year’s best films, far exceeds its roots as docudrama and brilliantly emerges as the best Formula One movie of all time. But it’s the fundamental human story that matters most. And Howard and his crew never lose sight of that.

Rating: 3.5/4

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