Rush - Blu-ray Review

'Leads Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth play their charges Niki Lauda and James Hunt with all the subtlety of a Bond villain and his nemesis.'

There are signs that there is something up with Rush very early on and particularly that there is something up with Peter Morgan's script. The opening (and closing, for that matter) monologues to dispense with setup and wrap-up closure quickly and easily, are immensely lazy writing, giving first person exposition for the only times in the film to save Ron Howard some time. It won't be the last time you notice the lazy writing but, at over two hours anyway, you wonder how long Howard might have trundled on for without them.

Certainly, at times, Howard does find drama and emotion in equal weighting, with plenty of fun to be had from the racing segments, which do feel speedy, dangerous and tension filled. The mid-season montage is a little messy, but in the races Howard focuses on, there's certainly something there to engage with and enjoy.

In the character moments, these elements are stunningly less prevalent. Leads Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth play their charges Niki Lauda and James Hunt with all the subtlety of a Bond villain and his nemesis. It's almost a surprise that Hemsworth doesn't offer an eyebrow and a suspect English/American/Scottish accent. Brühl fills this gap with Lauda's Austrian intonation ('ash-holes') but more than accents, the real worry should be just how one-dimensional both characters are. Whilst the final race is invigorating and exciting, I never felt incredibly invested in the outcome for either lead.

Perhaps the reason for some of that can be found in this Guardian Sport piece. Attacking a film because it is 'not close to the truth', is ultimately a somewhat flippant and thankless affair, but that doesn't feel like the main solid accusation of Richard Williams' article, which ultimate has many. Notably the criticism of the journalist assault rings true; it felt unnecessarily out of character for Hunt on film and the violent reaction from him, despite the provocation, hardly endears him to you. The other accusations of embellishment may well be true but in minor defence of Howard, this isn't a film which has a 'true story' disclaimer and you can understand why certain angles - such as enhancing Hunt and Lauda's personal relationship - were taken.

An interesting element to consider, especially in terms of Hollywood's current fascination with chasing new audiences, is in the faux-TV commentary the director includes to explain what's going on to non-F1 fans. More than successfully doing this, the commentary also subtly calls to mind British broadcasting legend Murray Walker, before Howard then pulls out a picture of the real life Hunt standing with Murray at the film's finale. This is not a film that has forgotten how much the grey pound could mean to its success and a legion of fans who watched Hunt and Lauda battle it out for real are welcomed with open arms and the warm cuddle of occasional familiar footage and commentary.

That though hints at the fact that Rush is too happy to get comfortable and cosy on too many occasions. Howard loves these broad, easily-categorised characters and story that heads toward nobility from the outset, rather than providing some sort of salty alter-taste. The punches of dramatic impetus provide something to get the pulse racing but, for the most part, Williams is right; this isn't a million miles away from being a soap opera.




Rush is released in the UK on DVD, Blu-ray and On-Demand on Monday 27th January.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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