A “Rush” of Speed and Drama
It is useful to enjoy grand prix-style racing to appreciate “Rush.” Director Ron Howard obviously does. Howard hasn’t had this much fun with motor mayhem since “Grand Theft Auto,” his movie directorial debut in 1977.
“Rush’ is based on the real-life intense rivalry between two polar opposite drivers: rakish British playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and nerdy, no-nonsense Austrian expert, Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl).
Befitting his character, Chris Hemsworth is an impossibly handsome young man with abundant, flowing blond locks and icy blue eyes.
On the other hand, Daniel Bruhl is “uglied up” with protruding false teeth, halting speech and a matching awkward social manner.
The rivalry/friendship between reckless James Hunt and cautious, calculating Niki Lauda unfolds in the course of the 1976 Formula 1 racing season. Despite his playboy philandering, Hunt attracts a beautiful model, Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) who is willing to be his wife. Niki Lauda gains a loving mate in Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara).
The women are secondary to the men and the men are secondary to the thrilling racing scenes. The culmination is a fiery crash which nearly cost Niki Lauder his life. In a dramatic turn as incredible as any fiction, the horribly burned Lauda recovered enough to race again after only six weeks’ rehabilitation.
If you stick around to the end of “Rush” you will see the real Niki Lauda and gain a sense of how dangerous this sport is.