MOVIE REVIEW: RUSH
by Michael Chasin
Screenwriting Mentor, IAFT/Miami
Auto racing isn’t about where you go—the start and finish lines are in the same place—it’s about how you go—all out, pushing limits—or strategic and precise.
The film Rush explores that central conflict.
While it would have been easy to focus on the track, writer Peter Morgan has created an artful balance of high speed formula one racing and human drama based on real events.
Brit James Hunt, handsome and charismatic, wins by his willingness to risk, stating racing is, after all, something of a suicidal endeavor.
Austrian Niki Lauda, not handsome and not likable, wins through mechanical innovation and his careful calculation that will not accept risk over twenty percent.
Fueling both is their hatred for each other’s approach to racing—and to life.
As the film progresses, the action of Hunt versus Lauda plays out on the track—while the drama of Hunt’s id and Lauda’s superego turn on themselves.
Ron Howard’s direction of the racing action is masterful, which unfortunately makes the drama scenes feel slow, when they really aren’t.
The cinematography of Anthony Dod Mantle is excellent, perfectly capturing the danger and mood of misty race tracks.
Chris Hemsworth engages as Hunt, but what really compels is Daniel Brühl as Lauda. Mr. Brühl’s cadence reflects Lauda’s precision and arrogance—and makes us want to hear more.
By the end, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Howard have skillfully made us want both Hunt and Lauda to win the climatic championship—even though only one has displayed growth and change.
Hunt’s and Lauda’s contrasting racing philosophies did little to separate their results on the track.
Their different philosophies did much to separate their lives off the track.