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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » November 28, 2013
Film review
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Rush
November 28, 2013   
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Strange as it may seem, movie makers have not been too interested in Formula 1 racing so far. Even though Sydney Pollack made Bobby Deerfield in 1977, a film starring Al Pacino, that was a melodrama rather than an action-packed movie about car racing. That leaves Tony Scott’s Days of Thunder from 1990 as probably the only blockbuster from the last two decades to focus on rivalry between two race drivers—NASCAR drivers in this case. Even though audiences were not exactly crazy about Days of Thunder, the movie still raked in $23 million more than it had cost and helped propel Tom Cruise to mega-stardom.

Fast forward to the end of 2013 and Rush has just roared its way into the Top 200 of All-Time list on the Internet Movie Database, scoring 8.5 out of 10. Some have even hailed it the movie of the year. Directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Angels & Demons, Willow), Rush is based on the true story of the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, two Formula 1 superstars of the 1970s. The fierce competition between the Austrian and the Englishman saw them pushing the boundaries of safety, often against better judgment. The costs were high. Lauda was injured in a horrific accident that left him disfigured, while Hunt died of a heart attack at the age of 45, which some believe was the result of his fast-paced lifestyle on and off the track.

The rivalry and troubled friendship between the two men is a tale that was screaming out to be made into a movie. It took 37 years, counting from the two drivers’ heyday. Perhaps that was for the best, seeing how the casting in the 2013 film is spot on. Both Australian Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Avengers, Thor) and German actor Daniel Brühl (Good Bye Lenin!, The Edukators, The Fifth Estate) are excellent. Hemsworth’s Hunt is a playboy with an endless appetite for hedonistic excess while Brühl couldn’t be better as the ascetic perfectionist Lauda, who approaches races as if they were a mathematical puzzle.

The female cast in Rush is good too. Olivia Wilde, the star of the popular television series House M.D., plays Hunt’s wife Suzy, a fashion model. Lauda’s wife Marlene is played by Alexandra Maria Lara, who gave a memorable performance as one of Hitler’s secretaries in Oliver Hirschgiebel’s Downfall. Natalie Dormer, so far best known for her role in Lasse Hallström’s Casanova, also makes her mark on the movie as Gemma, a nurse with whom Hunt had a brief fling.

Even though the race scenes are an obvious attraction in Rush, the director knew better than to overdo the roaring engines and the exhaust pipes spitting out plumes of smoke. What we get instead is an attempt to provide some insight into what stardom can do to individuals.

One of the best things about Rush is the score by Hans Zimmer, who has for several decades been providing Hollywood with inspiring melodies and who has worked on 170 films. The German composer’s fans hope Rush will earn Zimmer his ninth Oscar nomination. However, only one of the eight nominations so far has resulted in the coveted statuette and that was for The Lion King in 1995.
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