Rush (2013) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Rush (2013) Directed by Ron Howard. With Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, David Calder and Pierfrancesco Favin.


Starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, Ron Howard’s Rush is a flashy biopic about the rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda during the mid-1970’s.

Like so many biographical films, Rush is embellished with fictitious frills to extend its drama. Of the two central performances, it is Daniel Brühl’s interpretation of Nikki Lauda that leaves the strongest impression, partly due to Lauda being a more enigmatic figure than his rival. That isn’t to say that Chris Hemsworth isn’t good as James Hunt; the pretty-boy, Casanova racing driver – determined to ‘have his cake and eat it’. The differences between the two men adds an extra dynamic to their fascinatingly intense rivalry. The script by Peter Morgan does a fine job of expressing this, but is balanced and human enough to help us understand the deep-seated respect that these two men had for each other.

While the excitement of their rivalry is captured, Howard also takes the time to explore the private lives of the men away from the track. Both struggle to maintain a balance between their mutual passion (Hunt can’t resist the endless party and Lauda fears he’ll lose his edge through the comfort blanket of personal happiness), as their love-lives cross paths with their desire to stay in pole position on the racetrack.

There are though, a few minor quibbles. The excellent cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle has an ‘Instagramed’ contrast that screams 1976 – perhaps prescribing a little too much faux authenticity on top of the excellent period detail. Also, some of the dialogue seems forced for the sake of unnecessary exposition.

Small things aside, not only is Rush an adrenalin-fuelled ride with blistering race sequences, it is also an exciting exploration of the psychological battleground that sport at the highest level is played out on. Rivalry is the petrol in the engine for these men and through fierce competition, they push each other to new limits of achievement on and off the track. It’s testament to Ron Howard’s storytelling that you don’t have to care about Formula One to feel engaged. His film is accessible and in some of its best moments, thoroughly breathtaking. 4/5


About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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14 Responses to Rush (2013) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. Marta says:

    Nice Gareth! I really enjoyed this film when I saw at the cinema.The two leads are very convincing and the seventies feeling is spot-on.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you. Yes, the period detail is very impressive – right down to a retro ice-cream van I saw cruising by at one stage. Glad we share enjoyment of this one.

  2. This film is without doubt one of my favorite sports films. I was completely mesmerized by Daniel Bruhl performance and was shocked when this film missed out on the major oscar nominations. Great review!

  3. Coolsville says:

    Saw this at the cinema when it was released. Racing isn’t an interest of mine but I thought the movie was well done. Bruhl’s performance blew me away, especially after I watched interviews of the real Nikki Lauda online. Clearly he did his homework!

    • garethrhodes says:

      I feel the same way. I don’t care for Formula One at all – but that’s testament to the quality of this film. My heart was in my mouth during some of those race sequences. And yes, Bruhl is excellent. Nikki Lauda himself must have been proud to see the film done so well.

  4. filmfunkel says:

    Smart review. This is such watchable fun. : D

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you. I’d be happy to watch it back, if only to revel in the period detail. I’m constantly impressed by the unsung heroes of films like these – the people who work tirelessly to ensure the period is adhered to with amazing attention to detail.

  5. brettmkane says:

    I’ve always wanted to check this film out. Maybe this review is the final push I need to actually follow through!

  6. Your reviews are always a sign for me to watch a film, as every single one (apart from Scott Pilgrim) I have thoroughly enjoyed!! Have been meaning to see Rush for quite some time. Clever review, as always!

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