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'Rush' movie review: Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl make for thrilling rivals

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Rush, Ron Howard’s latest film, is based on the true story of 1970s Formula 1 racing rivals, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Chris Hemsworth portrays Hunt, a British racing playboy and Daniel Brühl is Lauda, his calculating Austrian competitor. Hemsworth takes on another hot head role, but this one allows him to display a bit more range than Thor- the demi-God of the Avengers franchise. Hunt behaves more like another James – Bond, bedding beautiful ladies and tossing quips. Photo: www.hollywoodreporter.com

The filmmakers start with an interesting choice having Lauda narrate the film. Brühl may be familiar to American audiences from his roles in Inglourious Basterds and the Bourne Ultimatum. Brühl, an established star in Europe, has the trickier part. He’s pragmatic but he does have a sense of humor. With a petty nickname of the Rat, Brühl’s character is supposed to be much less attractive than Hunt.

Director Howard follows the men when they are Formula 3 racers, trying to make a name for themselves as they trade up to better cars and sponsorships. The story bounces back and forth between the two, as each has success and failure, both personally and professionally. One fascinating aspect to the races is that the drivers are also dependent on the cars – so even when the men perform well, the machines may not.

The relationship between Hunt and Lauda reaches a different level after Lauda is seriously burned in an accident. Lauda watches from his hospital bed, seeing Hunt handily win now that his main threat is sidelined. This gives Lauda the motivation he needs to survive his grueling recovery. The accident also leaves Hunt evaluating his behavior and how much risk he is willing to live with.

Lord Hesketh (Christian McKay) and Anthony 'Bubbles' Horsley (Julian Rhind-Tutt) are part of Hunt’s team early team, while Suzy (Olivia Wilde) and Nurse Gemma (Natalie Dormer) play some of the women in Hunt’s life. Alexandra Maria Lara, who might be best known to American audience for her role in Control plays Lauda’s partner, Marlene.

Howard maintains a great pace throughout the movie, and the races set in Germany, Brazil, Japan, etc. are invigorating. This is definitely a movie made for the big screen! Hunt’s charm and Lauda’s courage make this a joy to watch.   

Warning: the film graphically depicts several race car accidents, and shows Lauda in the hospital being treated for his extensive burns. Folks definitely may want to look away during the hospital sequences.  

 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: www.hollywoodreporter.com