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Rush: Flat Adaptation of Epic Formula One Rivalry

  • Alexandra Maria LaraChris Hemsworth...
  • Action & AdventureDrama
  • Ron Howard
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Rush: Flat Adaptation of Epic Formula One Rivalry

Ron Howards’ latest undertaking sees the director tackle the epic Formula 1 rivalry between James Hunt and three-time World Champion Nikki Lauda.

With two top leads and Howard behind the camera, Rush has arguably been one of the most anticipated films of the year – a dangerous and ominous jinx for any filmmaker or actor.  

It becomes clear from the minute they meet, during their beginnings in Formula 3 racing, that there wasn’t going to be much love between James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Nikki Lauda (Brühl). While Hunt’s womanising, playboy lifestyle established him as a bit of a celebrity, Lauda is more reserved and finds the Brit a little too reckless for his own good.

With their rivalry firmly established and bubbling under the surface, they eventually make their way in to Formula 1, where the two swordsman of sport find themselves fighting for glory across the world.

Based on the real events of the 1976 F1 championship, the film’s primary focus lies with the personal and professional rivalry between as it slowly grows between the two drivers. Spending more time off the track than on, the film very much relies on the spirits of its two main characters to drive the story.

Despite Hemsworth being one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood right now, it’s German actor, Brühl, who shines.  With the help of a prostatic dental appliance – which created the Nikki Lauda was overbite – Brühl depicts the no-frills, determined and calculating personality of the famed driver perfectly. On the other hand, Hemsworth isn’t as triumphant; as the bed-hopping, fame-hungry Hunt, there is little exploration beyond the surface of his character.

Unfortunately, the inevitable, personal and professional struggles of professional drivers are never fully discovered and Howard’s almost formulaic writing has produced a very rigid plot. On the up side, the race scenes – although few – are thrilling and technically well-executed, but for those who were hoping for more time on the track, the end-result might be a little disappointing. 

Rush is filled with plenty of trash-talk, name-calling and one too many ego-collisions, leaving the end result a little too cartoonish. Granted, the film has its moments and Howard’s zeal for putting what is considered one of sport’s greatest rivalries on the silver screen is obvious, but ultimately, the adaptation is never fully realised.

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360 Tip

Brühl and Hemsworth weren't allowed to drive a real Formula 1 car so they had to use Formula 3 vehicles with fake F1 bodywork instead.

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