I’m not the hugest sports fan, but Formula 1 is one of the few I keep up with. In fairness, at times it hasn’t been the most engaging spectator sport recently, but Rush manages to encapsulate everything that’s great about racing. Based on the true story, it tells of the historic rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, Thor, The Cabin in the Woods) and Nicki Lauda (Daniel Brühl, Inglourious Basterds, The Fifth Estate) centred around the 1976 Formula 1 season.
Both of the lead actors give absolutely amazing performances. They are both contrasting characters, yet at different points of the film you root for them for different reasons, leaving the audience with an equal amount of respect for these men by the end of the movie. James Hunt likes to live life in the fast lane, having parties and enjoying sex, drugs and alcohol. Compare this to Nicki Lauda, who distances emotion from racing, knows the importance of hard work and engineering and is all too aware of the mortality of the sport. If Hunt can be compared to Tony Stark, then Lauda is more like Sherlock Holmes.
These two characters dominate the film, but there are a few supporting roles that stand out. Alexandra Maria Lara (Downfall) gives an understated performance as Marlene Knaus, Lauda’s wife, and it was refreshing to see comedian Stephen Mangan (Green Wing, Episodes) turn is hand to a more serious role as a McLaren race engineer. Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) has a brilliant yet small role at the start of the film, and while I can understand this was because of the direction of the story, it would have been great to see her in a few more scenes.
Rush is gripping in the small-scale scenes, but it really shines through during the races. The cinematography is absolutely breath-taking, with the close up shots of the engines, tyres and rain effects being the most memorable, and is made more immersive with a 1970s style colour palette. This is a film that’s best enjoyed at the cinema, with the roaring surround sound, accompanied by a pulse-pounding score thanks to the legendary composer Hans Zimmer, that just adds to the tension and excitement.
Rush is easily the best film of the year so far. The two lead roles make the movie, with two dominating and engrossing performances from Hemsworth and Brühl. Ron Howard’s direction is superb, creating an enthralling story both on and off the racetrack. It would be a true waste if this film leaves this year’s award season empty handed.