What a thrill; what a ride; what a Rush

I WENT TO THE CINEMA on Friday night, relatively indifferent about going to see Rush. Not really being a huge fan of F1 (or cars altogether) I wasn’t really sure this film was for me. Yet, and quite happily I might add, I was mistaken. Director Ron Howard creates a compelling, thrilling and exhilarating film, which goes beyond just being another film about cars for petrol heads.

This film is a biopic, but not only that, it is also an action film. Now, whilst that doesn’t sound possible, Howard perfectly balances the action whilst recreating the story of the epic rivalry of James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). For those unfamiliar with these two, like I was – they were two very skilled racing drivers from the golden era of racing in the 70s. They first met in 1970 at Formula Three level, where a fierce rivalry was created leading all the way to the 1976 Formula One season where they both battled for the world title, with everything (and I mean everything) they had.

This story was a film waiting to happen, with two men with opposing temperaments, strong desire and very different life ethos, creating an interesting dynamic as you get to know them rather well through the incredible depth portrayed in the film. We see what makes these guys tick, what’s behind these crazy people that defy death every time they get on the track. I mean, what kind of person do you have to be to do that, to get in the car and risk you life day in, day out.

Hemsworth takes on the role of the English playboy James Hunt who is a risk-taking man that prefers to spend time with biddable young women and a bottle of bubbly against Brühl, who takes the role of Niki Lauda. Lauda is rather more conscientious and mechanical in his approach, focussing on the risk, never competing if risk is more than 20%. Both actors acquit themselves to the role of perfect rivals brilliantly.

I found myself drawn into these characters as they progressed through their lives and careers, both so different but following similar paths as they experienced ups and downs both in their careers and personal lives.

This is all said before even considering the intense racing scenes which are incredibly done by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, immersing you into these racing scenes with cameras even from behind the drivers helmets. This creates the action part of the film, and boy it pays off – you get to see firsthand the thrill, and the danger of being a racing driver. The pace of the film never lets up with just over two hours of masterfully shot action, in what is being described as some of the best F1 footage ever seen in film.

Amongst all the excitement, laughs and thrills and the blunt lines of Lauda, there is this overlying risk factor, the risk of death. This makes certain points in the film rather sombre, again developing the characters and showing new sides of Lauda and Hunt leading to a level of respect between the two; unique to them.

These two elements, the character biopic and the racing action both combine brilliantly to form what Rush is. A well crafted, awe-inspiring, fast paced and also touching film that you will find hard not to enjoy.

You can watch Rush at the Commodore this week, check out the listings here.