Ariana St. Pierre – Arts Editor
Ron Howard’s latest project, “Rush,” is an exciting, heart pounding film about fast cars and a fierce rivalry. “Rush” is based on the true story of Formula 1 racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and their sports rivalry in the 1970s. The film chronicles the two racers as they begin as Formula Three racers and tran- sition to Formula 1 world champions.
“Rush” is not your typical sports movie. The race scenes are thrilling and spectacularly crafted, but the film does not rely solely on the race sequences to drive the movie. It is what goes on off the racetrack that is truly fascinating.
The two men are complete opposites. James Hunt is the pretty, playboy Englishman with the gift of driving. He is charming and fearless behind the wheel. Niki Lauda is a very structured and calculating Austrian. He is an extremely disciplined driver whose focus is on winning, even at the expense of his personal relationships. It is after Lauda makes a deal that allows him to jump from Formula Three to 1 and Hunt following suit, creating an in- tense feud between the two racers. As the rivalry increases, it wreaks havoc in their lives. They become better drivers as they push themselves to be faster, even in the face of danger.
Both actors portrayed their characters well. Hemsworth’s charismatic energy and playfulness ignites the screen, but he doesn’t seem to stretch his acting abilities very far. Bruhl’s portrayal of Lauda carries the story, despite his frequently frustrating character.
At the turning point of the film, Lauda is involved in a horrific accident where he sustained substantial burns to his head, face, and hands, becoming the emotional heart of the story. Bruhl’s portrayal of Lauda was spot on; edgy and abrasive, but still respected as a character. His peers did not particularly like him, but Bruhl’s performance ensured that Lauda was human with a heart.
Some viewers might have hoped for more action packed race scenes, but “Rush” still managed to depict the ferocity of the track and the dangers it packs. The voice-over narration at the beginning of the film was unnecessary and distracting, but at the end was rather poignant. The film excels in the relationship and feud between Hunt and Lauda, with solid performances by Bruhl and Hemsworth. “Rush” is definitely one of the must-see movies of the year.