“Rush” is a biopic depicting the rivalry between Formula 1 race car drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). The film covers the racing careers of these men, focusing on the dichotomy of their talent. Directed by Ron Howard with a screenplay by Peter Morgan, the film presents an entertaining balance of action and drama.
Casting and Character Development
The casting is the strongest aspect of this film. A brief moment in the film depicts actual footage of the two; Hemsworth and Brühl capture the looks and mannerisms of these individuals rather accurately. Additionally, the repetitive habits of the characters also provide a realistic side to each person - such as Hunt’s flipping the lighter, vomiting before a race, and nervous leg-tapping.
Hemsworth sells the film – it’s his face on the poster and Hunt is the character primarily profiled in the beginning of the movie. One of the much-talked-about nude scenes appears within the first five minutes of the film, adding to the representation of the boldness and lifestyle of Hunt. Hemsworth sells the details in Hunt’s life that make him relatable but ego-driven – not an easy accomplishment, but an attainable one for the “Thor” star.
However, it’s Daniel Brühl who makes the landmark performance in this film. While Lauda is extremely understated and businesslike compared to Hunt, the gravitas of his character creates a slow build. This sets up the contrast between both characters rather well, as it depicts the primary difference in their racing styles and lifestyle choices. Each character receives a primary section of the film; the end of the movie is shared. Such a film could has the potential to feel like two actors competing for screen time, but instead, each character’s life is increasingly affected by the other.
The other extremely notable performance is made by Alexandra Maria Lara, who portays Marlene, the love interest and wife of Niki Lauda. The majority of Lara’s performance is conveyed through body language and facial expressions. Lara’s performance asserts that Marlene is more than a worrying wife – her concern is reserved but ever-present, and the amount of nonverbal communication she has with her husband after his accident communicates a long-term love.
Are The Characters Likable?
Hunt and Lauda have one thing in common: neither are entirely likable. They’re generally opposites, and that’s what makes their frenemy-ship/rivaly appealing. Hunt is spontaneous, charismatic, and full of outward ego; Lauda is contrastingly strategic and withdrawn, usually the one to play it safe. This is exemplified by their racing styles but paralleled by their love lives. Hunt romances relentlessly and proposes immediately after meeting Suzy (Olivia Wilde); Lauda offers a bland proposal to Marlene.
Hunt and Lauda aren’t exactly kind to anyone. It makes the characters realistic and true, but may leave some viewers feeling a lack of empathy for either of them.
Cinematography and Artistry
This film succeeds as a character-driven biopic, but it’s also worth seeing for the artistic cinematography – it often underlines the impact of the weather and location on races as well as the safety concerns of track conditions.
Howard reserves the first-person scenes primarily for the climactic final race, which is particularly effective given the limited visibility of the drivers at that time. For a movie that often includes racing scenes, there wasn’t a shaky cam overload, but those bothered by this technique might not enjoy some of the unsteady track scenes. Additionally, the prevalent danger of racing is highlighted with some extremely graphic scenes depicting the live and dead bodies of drivers who experience accidents. If you are sensitive to such images, consider skipping this one. Otherwise, it’s a green light.