Ron Howard always tells a good, clean story. It is what you expect from him and Rush is no different.
Instead of focusing on the intricacies or politics of the corporate machine that is Formula One he delves into the intense rivalry that grew between the two top Drivers in the sport during the 1970s, Nikki Lauda, and James Hunt. Whether this rivalry was more of a media construct than an actual realism is left to the knowledge of the audience.
Admittedly, I have never been a fan of Formula One but I have watched two separate documentaries about Lauda and Hunt. Both verified many aspects of the film yet Hunt comes across as charming and perhaps a little less substance abusive than he really was while Lauda comes across as a little more boring than he is in reality. Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan use this dramatic license to heighten the intensity of the rivalry and the contrast between the two champions.
While Chris Hemsworth has the wild boy charm of Hunt he is a little better looking but it is Daniel Brühls’ Lauda that stands out, not only does he look and sound like The Austrian driver, he moves like him as well.
Ron Howard gathers a fine production crew around him and everything about the film is slick. He has joined the growing queue of current filmmakers who are opening up the 1970s, like Call Girl, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and as you would expect dips us fully into the decade.
He builds up the rivalry almost frame by frame, with an excellent score and his use of many camera shots that could easily have remained static are instead in motion and help to build up the atmosphere of the story set in the deadly sport. Of course all of the racing scenes, including near and fatal crashes are impeccably shot as well.
Fans of Formula one are not to expect to learn many technicalities or be wowed by the science of the sport but those who are familiar with Hunt’s record from 1970-76 will notice that Howard only glosses over a few facts.
Lauda himself has verified this by saying that they actually got on a better in reality than the film portrays though he still thinks Hunt would have enjoyed it and from many recent interviews it is clear that he misses their rivalry.
This is an exciting film about the love of fast cars, about competition and hints how the intense rivalry may have been somewhat healthier than the media have it painted.