Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde
Plot: A re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
Genre: Action / Racing / Biography / Drama
Awards: Nom. for 2 Golden Globes - Best Picture (Drama), Best Supporting Actor.
Rating: M18 for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
An early lock for an Oscar nomination for Best Picture? I would think so. What a film this is – riveting, tense and there's a human story to care for – all set in the world of motor racing. The pinnacle of motor racing that is.
Penned by the masterful screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, 2006; Frost/Nixon, 2008) based on the true story of two men whose rivalries made Formula 1 racing a sport of excess and intense competition in the 1970s, Rush is a solid biopic by director Ron Howard, the versatile filmmaker whose most accomplished works include Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and Frost/Nixon.
Chris Hemsworth plays James Hunt, a British race driver who is driven by jealousy and the need to beat everyone in the game just to prove himself, including the German Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), whose serious, risk-free approach to racing is a far cry from Hunt's womanizing and living-life-to-the-edge ways.
Both men are competitive in different ways, hate each other's guts, yet they drive each other to succeed and overcome struggle. Rush pits two enemies together and finds a human connection, a wavelength they could only understand, making their stories as engaging as the racing action on show.
Howard has an outstanding technical team working with him, best exemplified by the brilliant Anthony Dod Mantle, Danny Boyle's favourite director of photography, whose cinematography work here captures the thrills and spills of racetrack action with aplomb, often using tight close-ups on speeding cars and stunning on-car footage to heighten the tension and pressure of high stakes motor racing. Editing, both of film and sound, is top-notch, and I can't see Rush not earning a number of technical nominations come Oscar season.
Perhaps the best takeaway is the entire package, the cinematic experience that it provides, and I must say this will be one of the most satisfying pictures of the coming winter season. Hemsworth and Bruhl deliver in their performances, yet it is Howard's return to form that I am most happy to see. He's not exactly an auteur with a distinctive style who makes groundbreaking works of art, but once in a while he makes really good movies, or should I say, really good biopics.
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