Ron Howard is at the top of his game in the action-packed biography. I am not a Formula 1 racing fan, so when I first heard of the film Rush about two F1 racers in the 1970’s starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) I didn’t pay much attention. Then I read that Ron Howard, who has made films I’ve loved since childhood (such as Willow, Parenthood and Backdraft) was directing and I was suddenly interested in seeing the film.
As it turns out, after seeing Rush– it is easily one of my favorite films of 2013, and possibly my favorite film directed by Ron Howard. Rush is a film based on the 1970’s rivalry between Formula 1 rivals James Hunt and Nicky Lauda (who was extensively interviewed for the making of this film). James Hunt is a cocky British ladies man, played superbly by Hemsworth. Hemsworth really impressed me in this film, he showed he isn’t just pretty face but a serious actor with tremendous range. Rival Nicky Lauda (Inglorious Bastards, The Bourne Ultimatum), the rather awkward Austrian that uses his hatred of Hunt to rise to the top of the racing circuit, is played in an equally impressive performance by Spanish-born German actor Daniel Bruhl. The film follows these two men as they compete over the years, first in the smaller circuits and eventually as rival champions in Formula 1, including the brutal crash that disfigures one of the men for life during the Grand Prix championship in 1976.
From the moment the film opens, it never lets you go. I was literally on the edge of my seat for more than half of the film. The racing scenes are action packed and intense. Hemsworth is charming and funny when not in the drivers seat, and his rivalry with Bruhl is genuinely fun to watch. The film rushes by despite its 2 hour and 3 minute run time, thanks to the superb pacing. Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) captures the races, stadiums and international locales wonderfully, always making it a treat for the eyes.
Rush is one of the films you need to see in the theater, for the races alone. The cars zoom past at lightning speeds and you feel the roar of the engine, you feel like you are on the race track with them. Do not let Ron Howard’s last few films (The Dilemma, The Da Vinci Code) deter you, this is Academy Award winning material. This is his best film since Apollo 13 in my opinion. Thanks to the acting, directing, cinematography, score, etc. this is the must-see film 2013!