After the success of Frost/Nixon, director Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan team up again to present Rush (15), a biographical film about the infamous rivalry of F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
What’s it about? Niki Lauda is a young Austrian who defies his parents’ wishes and shuns the family business to pursue a career as a race car drive, while James Hunt is a wealthy Surrey-born playboy who loves the thrill of the race and is just about crazy enough to take the risks needed to win.
When the pair first meet during a Formula 3 race, the analytical driver and the Brit charmer instantly dislike each other. Their rivalry continues all the way to Formula 1, influencing the 1976 F1 World Championship and leading to an horrific car accident.
Verdict: Formula 1 doesn’t have the global appeal of sports such as football, so unless you’re a big sports fans, you may never have heard of Hunt or Lauda – but this film is sure to change that for generations to come.
Hunt and Lauda were polar opposites who rubbed each other up the wrong way from the instant they met. Given writer Peter Morgan’s talent for bringing competitive tales like Frost/Nixon to life, it doesn’t take long to realise we aren’t really meant to root for either Hunt or Lauda. Both men have their strengths and flaws, meaning we can just sit back and enjoy the incredible level of competitiveness between the two.
The film is a perfect character study of two men who possess so many of the qualities it takes to be great sportsmen. Daniel Bruhl is definitely worthy of an Oscar nod as he transforms himself into Niki Lauda – not an easy task when the real Lauda is alive and well and will surely have let Bruhl know what he thinks of his performance! From the perfect accent to the prosthetic teeth, he fully becomes a man who’s an almost unrelatable character at the start of the film, but ends up tugging our heartstrings by the closing credits.
Chris Hemsworth is also perfectly cast as the legendary British playboy. While some might think all the sex scenes are a bit unnecessary, Hunt allegedly bedded 5,000 women so a couple of steamy sessions are a must to truly portray his character! Interestingly, none are with Olivia Wilde, who pops up from time to time as James’ first wife, fashion model Suzy Miller.
As well as the great script, director and cast, the reason Rush is so thrilling is the phenomenal work done by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, who manages to recreate the thrill of F1 for both driver and spectator in the high-speed race scenes.
The BAFTA-winning documentary Senna seems to have opened the way for more big-screen representations of F1 drivers, and if Rush is anything to go by, we could be in for more truly great tales in the future.
Final Words: A biopic focusing on the golden age of Formula 1 and delivering a thrilling and intense ride that’s bound to leave you eager for more. It’s sexy, funny and witty; just like the men whose story it tells.
Rush is in UK cinemas on 13 September.