Ron Howard is no stranger to realistic, historical drama with movies such as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Backdraft and Frost/Nixon. This time, he takes on the elegant cars of Formula One (F1) racing in the movie Rush. Rush attempts to combine Hollywood style with an independent film sensibility with mixed results. The Hollywood-style comes from director Ron Howard. He brings his usual glossy professionalism to this real-life rivalry between Austria’s Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Bruhl, and Britain’s James Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth. These drivers hate each other from the first moment they meet.
The problem between these two isn’t just that both men are obsessively driven to win the racing title. It’s that they view life so completely differently that they can’t help but get on each other’s nerves. The flamboyant James Hunt has as much raw talent as any driver of his generation, but he’s hot-headed and averse to discipline. Lauda, by contrast, is a superb detail-centric technician with zero gift for people and a tendency to insult folks without even trying. Rush centers on the most famous race between these two, the 1976 German Grand Prix, but also takes time to show us their personal lives.
For those F1 or other racing fans, you may be wanting more detailed racing scenes and less drama in Rush, but for others who know nothing about this genre, you will understand the drive that put these people into a car going unknown speeds in any type of weather to win the prize.