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.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is crisp and issue-free, bringing the tension to the screen perfectly.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The race scenes find the action zipping about all over as you’d expect, the dialogue comes crisp and clear and Hans Zimmer’s score is a joy to the aural senses as ever.
There are only a few extras, but the first two are in HD and give a good basic intro into the background behind the film and the legends of Hunt and Lauda:
- Race for the Chequered Flag: The Making of Rush (31:59): A well-chaptered making-of with chat from key cast and crew members, as well as Niki Lauda himself, this is split into six sections, starting with Peter Morgan on writing Rush, which begins with Ron Howard hinting what you’re thinking while you’re watching the film in that there’s so many twists and turns to the real-life story behind this film that it must feel like it can ONLY be a drama.
Finding James and Niki looks at the casting of the leads, there’s capturing of the race action in The Light of Speed and Filming F1, Around the World In One Location centres on trying to create every different track in the film whilst just filming in one place, Fashion and Styles of the ’70s looks at the clothes of the era they’re recreating, while Ron Howard: A Director’s Approach rounds this piece off showing how the man works, including Howard feeding off the energy he gets when having to, for example, hone the schedule down so tightly that some actors were only available on certain days and certain cars were only available on others, and so on.
- The Real Story of Rush (18:43): This sorter extra features three segments – Meeting James Hunt and Niki Lauda gives background detail to how they were like, back in the day, F1 Take 1: F1 Racing and the F1 Car goes into detail about, well, F1, and The Rock and Roll Circus centres on what a hedonisitic time it was, for example, with racing drivers shagging every girl in sight in case they died the next day, and how it all came long before the shadow of A.I.D.S.
- Deleted Scenes (10:56): Nine brief scenes here, none of which particularly need to be included back in the final film but it’s nice to have them presented separately here.
The menu features footage from the film set against a short piece the theme music. There are subtitles in English, but, sadly, a lack of chapters with a mere 12 over the 119-minute running time. What is it with studios and their love of just TWELVE paltry chapters?
Once again, Studiocanal put trailers and adverts before the main menu. These should go in the extras section. This disc has 3 trailers for other films, including one which came out almost a year ago! What are they? Not saying. Gah, I hate this practice! We are not in the age of rental video.
Running time: 123 minutes
Released: January 27th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Ron Howard
Producers: Andrew Eaton, Eric Fellner, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Peter Morgan and Brian Oliver
Screenplay: Peter Morgan
Music: Hans Zimmer
James Hunt: Chris Hemsworth
Niki Lauda: Daniel Brühl
Suzy Miller: Olivia Wilde
Marlene Lauda: Alexandra Maria Lara
Clay Regazzoni: Pierfrancesco Favino
Louis Stanley: David Calder
Nurse Gemma: Natalie Dormer
Alastair Caldwell: Stephen Mangan
Lord Hesketh: Christian McKay
Stirling Moss: Alistair Petrie
Anthony ‘Bubbles’ Horsley: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Teddy Mayer: Colin Stinton
Harvey ‘Doc’ Postlethwaite: Jamie de Courcey
Enzo Ferrari: Augusto Dallara
Luca Di Montezemolo: Ilario Calvo
John Hogan: Patrick Baladi
English Race Announcer: Simon Taylor
Brett Lunger: Rob Austin
Harald Ertl: Tom Wlaschiha
Arturo Merzario: Cristian Solimeno
Guy Edwards: James Norton
Agnes Bonnet: Joséphine de La Baume
Peter Hunt: Geoffrey Streatfield
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.