James Hunt and Niki Lauda started off as rookies at Formula 3 driving their way up the racing ladder to find themselves pitted against each other in Formula 1 in year which will be henceforth remembered primarily for two things in the Formula 1 history, the Hunt-Lauda rivalry and the infamous accident that nearly cost Lauda his life. Through the film Ron Howard successfully brings out the emotional highs and the sensational volatility of the game of racing which hasn’t been experienced before at this magnitude in a long long time. The film works on multiple levels with entertainment being the primary but in doing so never loses its grip of reality. The racing sequences are choreographed with such finesse that one feels it being a live feed from a formula 1 broadcast. The heightened emotions between Lauda and hunt and their strange love hate relationship give the film a unique emotional edge.
James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is a playboy and a passionate driver at Formula 3. His life receives a shot in the arm when he gets a chance to
race at F1 thanks to a very benevolent team manager. Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) on the other hand literally buys his way into F1 after a brief rub-off with Hunt in F3. The two start off pitted against each other but as rookies nevertheless and over the years grow up in stature to stand as knights pitted against each other. While Hunt through his philandering, booze and infidelities keeps breathing down Lauda’s neck, Lauda with his professor like precision always stays a step ahead of him. But all of that changes when the two face off each other on that fateful day when the racing car of Lauda turns into an incineration chamber and Hunt becomes unknowingly responsible for Lauda’s fate. Ron Howard is known for his immaculate control over his subjects and screenplay and here again he proves his might. Choosing a story which could have easily run the way for a documentary, Howard transforms it into an exceedingly interesting and gripping spectacle which is complete with loads of eye catching racing action and at the same time not shallow on the drama elements. This is one film which will satisfy both the lovers of Fast and the furious as well as The Cinderella Man. The two leading stars give in their everything to make this film work big time. Chris Hemsworth who is knows better as the Greek god of lightning effortlessly slips into the shoes of Hunt. His portrayal of Hunt is believable at the same time effective. Bruhl on the other hand is the heart of the film. As the narrative unfolds primarily from his prospective, he was bound to get some juicy sequences and lots of screen time which he utilizes to the t. His alterations with Hemsworth and also the scenes where they share their admiration for each other are easily the high points of the film. Watch out for the final sequence.
This review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the spectacular race sequences and the manner in which the DOP captures them. The camera is always at the best position to give us the best view of the action. However in some of the sequences, the viewing angles are kept knowingly blurry to heighten the tension and it succeeds effortlessly. The film is beautifully shot and every sequence is carefully thought after making it even more worthwhile. The background score is a winner. It pops up at some of the key situations and fills in the void and also at so many junctures conveys the right emotions in the most palpable manner. The climax may be sighted as the best example of what I just said.
Rush has more convincing and pulse pounding action as all the Fast and Furious films and Death Race films put together. The fact that we are made to care for the characters only heightens the emotions that go along with them. Rush will really make you feel a rush of blood coursing through your veins at some of the key junctures of excitement and thrill. That in turns is also one of its primary pluses. It will easily merit as one of the top 10 films of 2013 and will rank among one of the very best of Ron Howard. It may not be A Beautiful Mind, but it sure as hell is both thought provoking and entertaining.