Formula 1 racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) square off in Rush.

Reel Reviews: Film gets the checkered flag

Rush, about the rivalry between Formula 1 racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, is a victory lap for director Ron Howard.

  • Oct. 11, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) are Formula 1 race car drivers from the 1970s. Rush is based on the true story of their famous rivalry, on and off the track.

We say, “It’s a victory lap for Ron Howard.”

HOWE: One word can describe Rush: fantastic. The drama,the story, the acting and the racing clips are spot on, but then again would you expect anything different from Mr. Howard?

I can remember growing up in the late ‘70s and seeing the many stories of James Hunt in the national papers or on TV about his playboy lifestyle. After watching Hemsworth portray him, I think he did a pretty amazing job. This is by far his best role I have seen him in.

TAYLOR: I was completely unaware of much of anything about either of these men, nor Formula 1 racing, but I do think this is an excellent film and fine performances by both leading actors helped a great deal.

Formula 1, it seems, is a dangerous endeavour and if the film is to be trusted for its accuracy, which I think it is, 1970s’ race car drivers were a wild bunch not entirely dissimilar from stuntmen, air force pilots or other professional thrill seekers. While this does make for a fun and interesting character study, it is not what makes this film so engrossing.

HOWE: In some films we have watched we have complained that they are way too long and could have been cut. In other cases they have been too short. Take the Iron Lady for instance. How do you cram so much information into one hour, 40 minutes? Rush, on the other hand, has just the right amount of information to make it an enjoyable movie. It captivates you from pole position to the checkered flag.

TAYLOR: I agree and this is a product of scriptwriting, editing and directing. The film starts off at the end with just a bit of a tease and then flashes back to bring the audience up to speed, starting with both Lauda and Hunt facing off for the first time on a Formula 3 track. From there we follow a story that is mostly about two very different men, one a cold, calculating German genius, the other a wild, naturally talented, aggressive Brit.

But what I found most interesting about Rush is the way it unfolded and particularly the way it looked. The script had the right amount of comedy, drama, history and action, perhaps more importantly, it had it in the right proportions. The look, however, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie: a strange, desaturated, almost copper tone to it, with a very bright gamma. (What this means is, even in the pouring rain, the dark clouds are glowing white hot, presumably so that the audience can see everything else well lit in dismal conditions.) It makes for some pretty pictures…

HOWE: And for me, probably Ron Howard’s finest work.

-Howe gives Rush 4.5 Murray Walker comments out of 5.

-Taylor gives it 4 bouncing slicks out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star Fridays and Sundays.

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