Thor makes a real James Hunt of himself
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl
Rush is great. And that’s coming from someone who finds Formula 1 racing about as exciting as watching Downton Abbey on sedatives. I’ve always thought of it as little rich dudes racing around in funny little plastic cars for about five millions laps. In other words I’m not a fan. But I am a fan of Rush, a movie about Formula 1 that focuses on the human element rather than the minutae of the sport.
The story is simple – British racing playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is really good at going fast in a car. So is his Austrian rival Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl, a German actor doing an Austrian accent). That’s pretty much it. However the joy of the film lies in the contrast between the two men. Hunt is a fun loving, risk taking, hard-living man, who loves the danger of his sport. Lauda is basically his opposite – a serious, deliberate, considered person who’s goal is to be the best in the world.
The characters may seem to be painted with broad strokes but you can forgive the writer for this as there’s a lot to pack in to the movie about their battle for the 1976 Formula 1 championship. At first the men are hard to warm to, they both come from very wealthy families, they seem to have it all, and to be brutally honest they’re both kind of dicks. This though is where the film succeeds the most.
The performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl give the characters soul. Hemsworth proves that he can play earthlings as well as Norse gods by giving Hunt bags of charm meaning that even when he’s being an asshole he’s still impossible to dislike. Bruhl is the standout though. He portrays Niki Lauda, someone we keep being reminded that no one likes, in a lovely understated way revealing the good man beneath the serious outer shell. Bruhl steals the film with a touching performance that gets to the heart of the man without resorting to any flashy ‘look at me’ acting.
The movie as a whole won’t change the world. Most of it we’ve seen before and if you want the very best Formula 1 racing rivals movie then Senna is better. It’s well directed by Ron Howard, returning with style after a string of really awful films (please see Angels and Demons) proving that he’s a great director who needs great screenplays. The races are loud, ferocious battles in all weather conditions, we’re always right in there amongst it – this isn’t the dreary TV coverage you see on a Sunday afternoon. They really are thrilling to look at.
Rush is an inspiring, funny, brilliantly acted, love letter to male rivalry and friendship and is well worth watching. It won’t change your life but it will bring a smile to your face and make your heart beat a bit faster when you see the races in action. It’s a story about two very different men striving for the same goal and it’s the performances from Hemsworth and Bruhl that give the spark that takes the film from decent to very good.
Rush out and watch it now! Nah sorry that was shit. Ill try again. Hunt it down now! Ah f**k it, just watch Rush.
Have you seen Rush? Are you a Formula 1 fan? Can you tell an Austrian accent apart from a German one. Have you ever watched Downton Abbey on sedatives? Let me know in the comments below.