The 1976 Formula One World Championship was immortalised amongst fans of the sport as a result of a special and unique rivalry, more specifically an even more spectacular collision.
Ron Howard’s depiction may just have immortalised that season for everyone. That is not to say that the collision did not draw worldwide attention from the media, fans and non-fans alike, however those not so fanatical about Formula One would not have appreciated the depth of the rivalry between the two talented Drivers, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). What this movie does is explore the relationship between these two nemeses in a captivating way rather than relying too much on the horrific accident which left Lauda visibly scarred for life, to draw audiences in.
Aesthetically speaking, this film is remarkable, the effects and lighting are fantastic and awe-inspiring. It is actually hard to decipher whether the racing we see onscreen is real, putting the audience right in the thick of the action with some innovative camera work. This movie certainly left this reviewer with a sudden yearning to go back 6 years and get involved in the local kart club. Camera angles inside the protagonist’s helmets, close ups of the pistons pumping and the engine roaring really quicken the heart rate and heighten the tension. It is this simple technique which helps the audience engage and understand just how dangerous this sport was, one which claimed the lives of 2 unfortunate drivers every season on average. Overall the camerawork balances a simple documentary style of handheld filming and these innovative techniques to base the film in reality however goes beyond that to deliver an intimacy to the action which is incredibly rare.
…a lot of time and effort was spent on perfecting the look and detail of this piece…
There must be a special mention here to the hugely impressive attention to detail from the reconstructions of the Formula One cars, pit crew and driver outfits, to the general fashions of the 1970’s and creating the atmospheres of Grand Prix racing in this ‘playboy’ era. It is clear that a lot of time and effort was spent on perfecting the look and detail of this piece and the results are phenomenol, it is exceptionally easy to lose yourself in this Film and to get totally emotionally and mentally attached to the careers of these two high-profile rivals. The Make-up would obviously play a significant part in this Film, and it is utterly fantastically haunting how realistic it looks, in addition to the extended attention paid to Lauda’s treatment in hospital (look out for the cleansing of the lungs scene). The portrayal of Lauda’s ordeal is emotive, shocking, and physically revolting, but this reviewer can assure you this is a huge compliment to Rush.
What brings us closer into this high octaine world of speed, testosterone, sex, egos, and engineering genius is the utterly flawless portrayals from Hemsworth and Brühl, from the essentials such as the accent to the more impressive way in which they seem to encompass the two racing legends in their mannerisms and general aura, they both got it spot on. Hunt has just enough arrogant recklessness to contrast with Lauda’s precise and analytical approach to driving, Hunt’s playboy, drinking, drug taking and late night parties parallel with Lauda’s social ineptitude, isolation and all-nighter’s spent telling mechanics how to do their jobs. It is shown that Hunt wasn’t alone in his arrogance and found good company in Lauda who was also guilty of his stubborn and sure-of-himself approach to life.
…a great collection of hits which further add to the atmosphere…
Where there’s James Hunt, there’ll be parties and where there’s Parties in the 1970’s, there’s truly great music and this Film has a great collection of hits which further add to the atmosphere, spreading the Film’s roots further throughout the 1970’s. It is a piece of two halves really, with this feel good, light hearted beginning being replaced by Hans Zimmer’s score which becomes far more prevalent as the action and the personal lives of the two driver’s become darker and more serious. Hans Zimmer again inspires the audience with a tension raising score with perfectly enhances the action which we are seeing on screen with heavy drums and fast strings, which have become trademark Zimmer over the years. You would not be blamed for not hearing the score however, it is sometimes difficult to hear over the gust busting revs, screaming engines, pumping pistons and screeching tyres which bring the action right into the audience member’s laps.
For all the impressive action and race sequences, it is the story off the track which truly engages the audience’s attention, which is a huge compliment to Ron Howard and his team of writers. The polar opposites of these two rivals is captivating and throughout the film there is an increasing sense that the two are not all that different, causing the audience to constantly drift between two loveable rogues, it is difficult to judge whether you are ‘Team Lauda’ or ‘Team Hunt’. To add to this neither is given dominance over the other, there is no ‘main character’ which again is a credit to Ron Howard who found a perfect balance to document the 1976 World Championship impressively well.
…it has far surpassed that estimation…
Overall, Ron Howard’s Rush was expected to be 2 hour of thrilling motor racing entertainment, however it has far surpassed that estimation, leaving them behind in the pit lane. A set of slicks in the shape of a great looking, impressively acted, emotionally engaging, well-polished (or oiled) piece that is charging down the home straight towards the chequered flag.