[As I was writing my post for 03/30/2015, I realized I didn't properly disclose that Studio Movie Grill e-mailed me free tickets to see Rush at a special screening before the movie's general release. I redeemed one ticket for the evening show. Whew! Now I feel better! - Suzan, 03/28/15]
Like Apollo 13, Rush is a Ron Howard biography, which means you take any historical accuracy with a shaker of salt, tequila, and a lime. I wanted to see it because my dad used to race, because we watched a lot of Formula One races, and because I remember Niki Lauda's awful accident in 1976
I can't really say SPOILERS because the bulk of the movie was based on historical fact. But if you are that shy about them, close your browser NOW!
While the bulk of marketing and attention for this movie focuses on Chris Hemsworth (and I will give him his due in a moment), the story is really about Austrian F1 driver Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Bruhl. From a story standpoint, Howard sets the film up nicely to make Niki the villain of the piece and Hemsworth's James Hunt as the hero. He neatly switches the roles of the two drivers midway through the film. The beginning introduces the early racing careers of the two men, but the thrust of their story is their 1976 battle for the F1 World Championship.
1) Both Bruhl and Hemsworth capture their respective racers' eccentricities without turning the men into caricatures. They were polar opposites united by their love of the sport.
2) Howard doesn't shy away from Hunt's excesses, including cocaine, pot and alcohol. Those excesses may have contributed to Hunt's early death of a heart attack at age forty-five.
3) Gratuitous Chris Hemsworth butt shots!
1) The film paints Niki and James as mortal enemies. In reality, while they were intense rivals, they were actually very good friends.
2) Ron has a bad, bad habit as a director of obviously jerking the audience's emotional chains. I think a lighter touch along with Danial Bruhl's marvelous performance would have worked better with this movie.
One last note: I vote that Chris replaces Daniel Craig as James Bond in 10-15 years. If you go see Rush, you'll understand why in the scene where Hunt meets his future wife for the first time.
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