Ron Howard’s Formula One drama revs Dylan’s engines.
In a perfect world, Rush would be the classic example of a trashy Hollywood movie. This may sound like a criticism, but for me it demonstrates what a fantastic populist director Ron Howard is. He can make movies that combine broad narratives anyone can enjoy, with supreme direction, cinematography, and performances to make gripping cinematic masterpieces with real artistic worth. Rush, his latest work, is no exception.
The plot follows the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) in the 1976 season. Hunt’s playboy behaviour is the opposite to Lauda’s meticulous preparation. As the competition heats up, how much will the pair sacrifice to gain victory?
Rush is an incredibly enjoyable film. Writer Peter Morgan had found a real life story with a genuine cinematic core, and the chalk and cheese relationship between the pair is a perfect narrative flagpole. But the two never become stereotypes; neither are perfect, and have their own individual mountains to climb over the course of the picture. The audience is sucked into their tribulations and triumphs, and when the final showdown comes, just as the two have started to respect each other, so do we.
Their performances are totally believable. And for those who thought Hemsworth was a one-note actor, here he brings a whole new level of humanism to his hunky persona. Bruhl continues his strong work, and this is by far his most hilariously belligerent role so far. Regardless of the racing scenes, this is a brilliant drama.
This is not to put the Formula One element down; all motoring sections are a joy to watch. They are a mixture of beautiful production values, fantastic direction, and a sound design that must surely win this year’s Oscar. You get a real sense of the power and danger of the cars, and it turns the generic title into an accurate description when viewing the film. The final twenty minutes are some of the most exciting I have ever spent in the cinema, and though unexpected in their conclusion, were totally satisfactory.
This comes together to make Rush a very worthy filmic experience. This is a fantastic capturing of events, and a worthy tribute to those who remember 1976 as the wonder year of Formula One. Equally, it does not matter a bit if you do not know or care about Formula One (I certainly do not). Howard, you’ve done it again…