film review: Rush (2013)

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film review: Rush (2013)

Ron Howard’s one of those directors that I’ve never really cared that much about. He makes good films, sure, but they’re not ones I’d be getting passionate about. I kind of think of him as a good solid director. He’s had a few turkeys for sure, but then who hasn’t.

As I result I wasn’t particularly chomping at the bit for Rush. It sounded interesting enough, F1 rivalry, ok. I used to watch a bit of Formula One back in the day and I remember Niki Lauda’s name. Possibly because he was called Niki, but who knows. In any case, I reckon it was going to be a decent, if probably slightly over-dramatic telling of the truth.

And that’s pretty much exactly what Rush.

It’s gotten rave reviews around the world already, and I wouldn’t say they’re undeserved, but for me, they seem a little excessive. It’s a good drama but I wouldn’t think of it as a particularly memorable. It’s one of those “Does what it says on the tin” kind of films.

Don’t get me wrong though, it does it well. Chris Hemsworth does fine work as the substance abusing, womanising rich kid British playboy James Hunt and Daniel Brühl does equally excellent work as the calculating, methodical Austrian Niki Lauda. Could there be a nomination for one of them? Possibly, depending on what else appears on the field. Most likely I think is supporting actor for Daniel Brühl, though personally I think supporting’s a bit ridiculous – the film is as much about Lauda as it is about Hunt, despite what the poster might lead you to believe. That said, the actor category is already a bit stacked so plumping for supporting is probably a better tactic.

It’s also worth saying the camera work is beautiful. The race scenes as well are compelling, everyone loves a dashcam, and of course it hides how boring F1 can be to watch. Which is fair, the film is about drivers. Plus, everything has this slightly over contrasted, saturated, colour shifted look, evoking our idea of the ’70s. Half the time it looks cross processed, which works for the instagram generation of photography…

It’s got a bit of emotional heft to it as well, the heartstrings were pulled when appropriate. I could have been a bit more excited about proceedings but like I said, the races were good and they kept it going.

In fact there’s little to dislike about Rush. It’s a little long and slightly repetitive I thought, Hunt was a bit of a player, I get it… and Olivia Wilde, could have been anyone, it was a thankless role. Lauda’s missus got a bit more screen time but unfortunately we didn’t get a learn much about their relationship. Which was kind of fair enough, that’s not what the film was a bit. A tad more would have gone a long way to satisfying curiosity though – were they happy? Why?

My main issue with it though is that I can’t help to feel that there was even more that could have been pulled out of Hunt and Lauda here. I feel the truth is probably a little more complicated than what we’re presented with here. In real life I gather Lauda and Hunt became quite close, I would have liked know a bit more than that. The story just feels a little bit held back for the sake of being more dramatic.

On the whole though, another good solid drama from Ron Howard. Well done. I just know that one day I’ll find myself asking… what was that film again? The one with Thor? About the driving?


In case you’re curious, here’s a pic of the real Hunt and Lauda.

Real James Hunt and Niki Lauda

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