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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Rush | Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Alexandra Maria Lara, Olivia Wilde | Review

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5sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT Judy Thorburn

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5lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is EXCELLENT

 

Rush

For his latest film, Oscar winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) reteams with British screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) to visit the fast and furious world of Formula 1 car racing with a story based on the true life, fierce rivalry between two very different competitive race car drivers. More than a sports film, Rush is an engaging human drama and compelling character study from Howard, who proves once again that he is a master filmmaker and superb storyteller.

Both British born James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, Thor), and Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) came from wealthy families and without the support of their parents pursued their passion as race car drivers with the shared desire to win and hold the title of world champion.  Each pushed themselves to the extreme and were willing to risk their lives in this dangerous, potentially fatal, sport in which several drivers are killed in action each year. Other than that the two men were polar opposites. Hunt was a blonde, outgoing, likable playboy with a voracious appetite for women, alcohol, drugs and partying. In stark contrast, the brilliant, methodical and disciplined perfectionist Lauda was unattractive with an overbite. Unsociable and considered an asshole, he didn't care what others thought of him. From the moment they met, Hunt and Lauda took a mutual dislike and were quick to throw verbal jabs at each other during press conferences or in face to face interactions.  Yet, each was the fuel that pushed the other to the limit.  At one point Hunt states,” More powerful than everything is the will to win”.

Set in the 1970's, the film follows each of their lives on and off the racing circuit with the main focus on the 1976 Grand Prix season that took them to tracks around the world including Brazil, South Africa Spain, Belgium, Monaco, Germany and Japan, where they incurred both setbacks and victories.

Away from the track, Hunt had a short lived marriage to top British model Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde, taking on a believable English accent). But refusing to put up with his infidelity and bad boy ways, she eventually leaves him for actor Richard Burton.  Meanwhile, Lauda gets married to Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara, The Reader) a beauty he meets in Italy. Resistant to happiness, because he says “it weakens you and you will have something to lose”, their relationship eventually causes Lauda to change his viewpoint, but does not stop him from participating in the German Grand Prix where a horrific accident nearly killed him and left him physically scarred for life.

Hemsworth (although taller, hunkier and more handsome than Hunt) and Bruhl (who bears a striking resemblance to Lauda) deliver effective, excellent performances as their real life counterparts capturing their physical characteristics, mindset, intense drive, as well as personal demons.

The racing sequences are beautifully shot by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle who takes you right in the drivers seat from their point of view as they speed along the dangerous curves in an  adrenaline pumping “rush” to the finish line.

A well crafted and absorbing film that works on every level, Rush is sure to entertain and satisfy both car racing fans desiring the need for speed and excitement and those interested in watching a good human drama unfold. The combined elements are a winning formula that makes Rush one of the best films of the year.

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