What a “Rush”

Lindsay Lillig

Ron Howard’s film “Rush” takes audiences through the matchless rivalry between two Formula One Grand Prix racing drivers. The invigorating true story follows James Hunt of Great Britain (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda of Austria (Daniel Brühl) on their journey to two world championships.

The movie opens with Lauda narrating a scene of the line-up for the second championship. An impending misfortune for one of the two drivers is presumed when Lauda says, “That was the day I raced Hunt like an asshole.” The rest of the film is a flashback leading up to that day.

The audience gets the back story on both Hunt and Lauda: how they got into racing, why they love it and how their rivalry started. Writer Peter Morgan did a seamless job keeping an equal focus on each driver. There was never a time where Hunt or Lauda seemed to be on the screen more than the other when they weren’t together racing. Audiences feel just as delved into Hunt and his philandering lifestyle as they are into Lauda and his overly methodical approach. Beyond the work of Howard and Morgan, the acting of Hemsworth and Brühl make it truly difficult to root for one character over the other.

The racing scenes were raw and intense. Howard didn’t take the usual glamorous approach. When it was raining, there were times the camera was placed in the driver’s perspective, beads of water making visibility close to zero. When a driver spun out of control, it was just as abrupt to the audience as to his opponent. The scenes of Lauda in the hospital vividly illustrated his agonizing situation.

In the end, the rivalry between Hunt and Brühl was admirable. It was evident that underneath it all, the two appreciated that they made each other the best drivers they could be. They pushed one another to find and prove what mattered most. The film may not have been the ruthless competition that the trailers depict it to be, but it was a brilliant adaptation of a stimulating story that deserved a title on the big screen.