Rush centres around the 1976 Grand Prix Formula 1 season, specifically the August 1st race at the Nürburg-Ring, the most dangerous track in the racing calendar, which is referred to as “The Graveyard”. The film begins at this point, the race sets off, and then it is told in flashback, initially with commentary from Lauda, as we go back to 1970 when Surrey-born James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) first meets and does battle on the track with newcomer Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).
In not too long a time, we see Hunt meeting nurse Gemma (Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer) after an early accident, wondering if his crew have phoned ahead as promised when he arrives in hospital to find everyone staring at him awe-struck; then to Hunt pushing Lauda out of their first race, adding weight to his nickname – “Hunt the shunt”, Hunt marrying Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde), Lauda’s developing relationship with Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara) and so on. Yes, Rush ‘races’ (ahem) through the first six years of their rivalry…
Although it’s obviously based on a true story, I didn’t know the ins and outs of the season and the final race (well, I was only four years old at the time), so in a way it played out like a intriguing drama for me, and so I’m not going to detail key events in the race outcomes. And Ron Howard directs it like a drama, too, excelling pretty much throughout when it comes to the tension.
Chris Hemsworth is perfect as the cocky and slightly arrogant Hunt, while Daniel Brühl similarly can’t be faulted as the snooty and possibly more arrogant Lauda, so they’re similar in one way, yet chalk & cheese in another. The two are perfectly matched opponents, and while their tale is told in full and, obviously, we’re not going to get ‘Rush 2’, I would love to see these two actors meet up again onscreen in future.
Overall, Rush comes highly-recommended as a drama with some great racing action, and which never lacks in pace from start to finish. While there are other good cast members onscreen, it’s the two main leads who are the key to this film and they dominate throughout.
Rush was nominated in the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, it is nominated in the BAFTAs for Best British Film, Best Editing and Best Sound, and in both, a Best Supporting Actor nod for Daniel Brühl. Sadly, it hasn’t won in the Golden Globes, but all of these deserve to be winners. In fact, Brühl really deserves to sit alongside Chris Hemsworth as leading actor, so I don’t quite get why he’s been relegated to support when you really couldn’t have one without the other.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.