To be honest, I was rather clueless about this movie beforehand – partly because, based on the poster, it appeared to be revolving around F1 – a subject that leaves me rather disinterested. However, the moment I realized that the movie was actually based on the true life story of 70s F1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt – I knew that I was going to enjoy Rush.
Yes, a period piece set in the 70s – pure nostalgia for me! In fact, I do remember seeing a picture of Niki Lauda after his crash – with his facial scars – an image forever burned into the memory. I was less familiar with James Hunt though. After the movie, I watched a BBC documentary about this famous F1 rivalry and was amazed to find out that the real life story is actually even more amazing!
Director Ron Howard has done an awesome job putting this together. The 70s period was evoked so authentically, I was particularly enjoying all the hair styles and fashion, like I said – pure nostalgia. However, for some reason the soundtrack (consisting of 70s music) failed to sizzle and even the score (by Hans Zimmer, no less) did not quite impress.
But that is a very minor quibble. Howard gives both Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Lauda (Daniel Brul) equal screen time as the plot line is revealed. Both characters are established well – their differences emphasized and the intertwining of fates defined. And even within the intense rivalry, there is mutual respect and admiration throughout. The action sequences involved with the F1 races are technically brilliant – again, one is immersed in the world of the 70s Grand Prix and the excitement is palpable.
Hemsworth and Brul do justice to the lead characters – and Howard does not flinch from portraying Hunt and Lauda as honestly as possible. Some of the sex scenes and nudity seem a little over the top (justified to set up the hedonistic lifestyles then prevalent) but surely the memorable story deserves to be seen by teenagers as well (rated M18 in Singapore).
So yes, go and catch Rush – it’s a human story for the ages and one for its time (the 70s) as well. Historically significant as Lauda and Hunt did their part in making F1 the global phenomenon it is today. Highly recommended.