Sunday, September 29, 2013


Movie Name: Rush
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Olivia Wilde, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, Christian McKay, Stephen Mangan, Natalie Dormer, Colin Stinton, Alistair Petrie, Julian Rhind-Tutt
Genre: Drama, Action
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Prolific director Ron Howard is back after "The Dilemma", with his interpretation of the events that surrounded the rivalry of Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 70s. The film follows the ascent of both drivers, from Formula 3 drivers, to the big leagues, more precisely to Formula 1 racing. James Hunt is presented as a debonair, playboy type of racer, whereas Niki Lauda is presented as a more cerebral and focused counterpart. A rivalry between these two men propels them forward, with Hunt always trailing behind Lauda, until the latter one suffers a horrifying accident in a track, enabling Hunt to edge and come closer to the dream of being World Champion.
Ron Howard has a tradition for tackling stories without much attention for nuance. His films are unabashedly focused on making the audience create a sense of empathy with his core hero, without contemplating any darker side the character(s) may have. "Rush", written by Peter Morgan, suffers from this problem - the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda could easily be the one that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer personified onscreen in Tony Scott's "Top Gun" in 1986, with the difference that this time around, the so called hero, actually is presented as an egotistical man, without much depth or sense of empathy (or dignity for that matter). The film fails in creating these characters as something palpable or even relatable - they are nothing more than archetypes, namely the playboy vs. the conservative man, whereas the women in their lives, are given nothing more to do, other than stay in the background, look preoccupied, and have brief scenes of walking into frame (and quickly exiting). The film is successful in presenting the dynamic of the sport and the sense of excitement that always prevailed in it - the fantastic cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle gives the film a look and treatment that are superb. Daniel Bruhl also manages to create an engaging performance, though it soon becomes a performance that runs always on a single view of the character. Though shot and impeccably recreated for the time it depicts, the film ultimately feels hollow and devoid of the emotion and excitement that always propelled these men and the fans to the circuits. Not recommended.