After the success of Senna I was cautiously optimistic about Rush. I am a fan of F1 and I am familiar with the legendary status of James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
The trailer was excellent and excitement levels were high. Rush was one of my most eagerly anticipated films of 2013.
PLOT: James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) a free spirit clashes with the quiet but intense Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). As they progress from F3 into F1 their rivalry intensifies and comes to a head during the 1976 season. END PLOT
I didn’t know the details of the Hunt/Lauda battle prior to seeing the film so I can’t pretend to be a stickler for details now. I don't know what was fact and what was dramatic licence. I am too lazy to google.
Chris Hemsworth has never been lacking in easy charm but in Rush he turns this up to the max. There was potential for Hunt to be portrayed as an arrogant dick but his constant “rat” taunts never comes across harsher than competitive banter.
Daniel Bruhl is the real star as Rush is surprisingly more Niki Lauda’s story than Hunts. Bruhl is excellent as Lauda and shows a hidden softer side behind Lauda’s intensity.
The personality clashes were undoubtedly amplified but it made for fantastic drama.
Rush relied on the performances of Hemsworth and Lauda and luckily the pair are on top form and have fantastic chemistry. They are not going to be bothering anyone come award season but they have done enough to make people sit up and take notice.
Aside from Lauda and Hunt Clay Regazonni is the only other F1 driver of the era to appear. There are familiar names of the era scattered throughout the film – Fittipaldi and Andretti are both mentioned but never appear. This is a pity.
The tone ranges from dramatic to amusing to downright stressful. It unfortunately lacks the emotional punch of Senna but then again there are few films on the planet which live up to this film.
The action scenes are frantic and genuinely exciting. I knew who won the 1976 World Championship but it didn’t make the final race of the season any less tense. The death rate in F1 during the 1970’s was staggeringly high and the raw racing and crash scenes emphasise the dangers of the sport. It made for thrilling viewing.
I can imagine the purists who watched F1 in the 1970’s finding faults and getting bogged down in the details. I don’t care. As a drama Rush succeeds on merit but the strong action scenes are what makes it memorable. Rush gets 9/10.
I eagerly await F1: The Alonso Saga. That'll be a loooong one.