The film is just over 2 hours long, but when it was over it seemed like I had been in the cinema about 30 minutes.
The film centres on the battle for the 1976 Formula 1 World Championship, and the rivalry between the Austrian "professor" Nikki Lauda and the British playboy James Hunt.
The two are depicted as enemies, but in actual fact they were good friends who trusted and respected each other on, as well as off-track. This bit of artistic licence does not spoil the film and is reasonable in order to make the battle between the two for the F1 crown more intense.
The film is nicely paced. We are introduced to both characters through their own narrative and scenes that leave the watcher in no doubt as to their background and philosophy on life.
The two are first seen in competition in 1970 at a Formula 3 race at Crystal Palace (where they have a coming together) and sets the scene for the rivalry throughout the film. I'm not sure if this is further artistic licence. The two definitely did race each other in F3, but I am not convinced as to whether this actual incident occurred.
After that we are given a whistle stop journey between 1973 (when Hunt came into F1) to 1975. We are shown the dangerous nature of F1 at the time with the Francois Cevert accident at Watkins Glen in gory detail although this does not seem like gratuitous, but necessary to bring home just how unforgiving the sport was back then and it truly was (of the top 12 points scorers in 1976, F1 cars were to claim 3, 1 ended up in a wheelchair and 1 had his career ended by a leg crunching crash).
We are then taken to 1976 and that titanic struggle for the World Crown. Only one real issue here the British Grand Prix result, but I suspect this was simplified in the interests of time.
The casting is superb. Chris Hemsworth, an Aussie, does an excellent job on public schoolboy James Hunt, while Daniel Bruhl both sounds and looks frighteningly like the Austrian. There is little room for a supporting cast amongst the drivers which is a shame only Clay Regazzoni has a part of any real substance. Peterson, Watson, Depailler, Scheckter, Andretti et al could have featured a little more I think. What did their contemporaries think of the two protagonists? The supporting cast is mainly required for Hunt Lord Hesketh, "Bubbles" Horsley and Teddy Mayer / Tyler Alexander of McLaren, while the Ferrari team principals are rarely seen.
The love angle is perfectly catered for by Olivia Wilde (Hunt's first wife Suzy) and the gorgeous Alexandra Maria Lara – of Downfall fame as the future Marlene Lauda. Both give quality performances.
The attention to detail is superb. Although the tracks are not the actual ones (for understandable reasons) the cars, the helmets, the sponsors are all authentic. The film "feels" like it's happening in the 70's.
For anyone interested in great personal stories, F1, the 70's, cars or just like to see a great film, then Rush is for you.
What a breath of fresh air… A brilliant film in every respect. I was lucky enough to this movie at a special preview and I cant tell you how great a film this is… At first you think its about racing cars, but its not it really does give you an insight into the human condition…
The rivalry between Hunt and Lauder is just played brilliantly… The race sequences are superb, really taking you back to the 70s… The heyday of this awesome sport. It shows the end of an era where the gentlemen drivers begin to give way to professional sportsmen and the end (in my opinion) of the excitement of the sport. It shows what a pale reflection today's F1 is of this once great sport, and what great characters we have lost…
His performance in Rush came as a huge surprise. This is his best performance by quite some margin, a role which he plays with a great deal of maturity and respect. He plays Hunt with just the right level of arrogance, cockiness, confidence and audacity to convince you that he was real life 70's playboy James Hunt, a man destined to live fast and die young.
Bruhl is superb as Niki too. It's a role that he deserves much recognition for, particularly his accent and mannerisms. Lauda was one of the first of a new generation of professional driver, driving the old playboy characters out of the sport and Bruhl nails this icy determination to succeed magnificently.
A particular nod goes to Christian McKay's portrayal as the slightly eccentric, petrol head extraordinaire, ever so aristocratic but hopelessly financially incompetent Lord Hesketh.
The camera work is particularly spectacular, with some very creative angles. The brief in-helmet camera shots are inspired, giving you a glimpse of the drivers world. CGI work will be spotted by the keen eyed, but you have to consider that without it that there are certain scenes that would be just impossible to film as accurately as they were depicted here with real machinery. As a result, they are able to use the CGI sparingly and to good effect.
The main facts of the 1976 season are on the whole handled very accurately. Certainly, some liberties are taken with poetic licence, but this is still a scripted film and not a documentary. The factually heavy writing of the script along with beautifully filmed and liberal use of period machinery being recorded at pace on real asphalt will be enough to keep the fans of the sport well represented.
It's a gripping telling of the 1976 Formula 1 season, which whilst not sharing the same shear spectacle of Howard's other 'too unbelievable to be true' film Apollo 13, Rush tells a story which would be just too unbelievable in terms of human bravery and personal destiny for any fictional story to be given credence. It's a tale which will be enough to hold the unfamiliar or casual viewer's attention with a steel firm grip to see how the different personalities handle the pressures of life both on and off the track and how rising to the top takes it's tole on these two polar opposite real life gladiators of the race track.
With the lead actors clearly committed to giving their best performances yet and a tastefully handled script, Ron Howard delivers a visually impressive account of events that may well become one of his most respected directorial efforts yet.
Honestly, I watch a sh*t ton of movies. I'm a filmmaker myself. I like to be inspired and to inspire others. You can't deny when you see something and you're like…"Wow. F*ck. That really hit home." Well, Wow. F*ck. That really hit home. I went to see this movie thinking, "the trailer looks cool, I'm a big Ron Howard fan, and I love racing cars." But by no means did I think this movie would breach my Top 3 of all time. No movie has in the past 14 years or so. If you like racing cars, suspense, action, love and romance… hell, if you like watching movies at all or even hearing a good story. Do yourself a favour, and watch this movie. How many movies have 2 main characters you fall in love with? Best Picture of the year, the last 14 years.