Racing movies have always felt juvenile and shallow, telling a simple story about a guy’s need to race and how it defines him with no emotional depths whatsoever. Rush was different. Not all Ron Howard movies are successful, and not all Ron Howard movies deserve to be successful, but Rush stands alongside A Beautiful Mind and Frost/Nixon in its director’s career.
This is the true story of the ruthless rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), from its beginning in a Formula 3 race until its glory days when Hunt and Lauda are World Champions.
Ron Howard has had his ups and downs in his careers, but much like Frost/Nixon, Rush is another successful biography. It’s not a particularly deep film, but it doesn’t try to be. Ron Howard knows that all he has to do is give us an honest look at both drivers, to show us they both have their lives and feelings outside the track and on it, but nothing more. And he does that right: The racing scenes keep you on the edge of your seat with great sound and good angles. The actors deliver prime performances, with Chris Hemsoworth proving he’s more than an actor with good hair and Daniel Brühl going for an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, even with all those elements, I sometimes felt that Howard was trying to portray certain emotions in some scenes even he didn’t understand, and thus, failed.
Rush is a racing movie with all the right elements: good sound, good picture, good performances, and a good story. It may not have been a masterpiece, but it was satisfying and enjoyable.