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Rush - DVD Review

Rush

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FORMULA One has recently delivered one great documentary in Senna. It now serves up a hugely enjoyable feature film in Rush.

A dramatisation of the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the ’70s and ’80s this comes from the team behind the equally riveting Frost/Nixon (writer Peter Morgan and director Ron Howard) and boasts two great lead performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.

Picking up in the world of F3, where Hunt and Lauda first began hostilities, it follows their journey through to F1, up to and beyond the horrific crash at the Nürburgring that almost claimed the life of Lauda and left him permanently disfigured.

But while the racing footage exhilarates (and is captured superbly by both Howard and cinematographer Anthony Dodd Mantle), Rush serves as far more than just a race movie.

At its best, it also examines the unlikely friendship between these two racers, for while Lauda and Hunt were bitter rivals on the track, and chalk and cheese personalities off it, there was a respect and admiration for each other that gave rise to a complex but fascinating relationship.

Where Lauda was a perfectionist who didn’t suffer fools and dedicated his life to winning races, Hunt was a playboy free spirit who nevertheless burned with a desire to triumph at all costs.

Both Brühl and Hemsworth convey these differences with utmost conviction (Brühl especially) and, aided by Morgan’s insightful script, don’t shy away from the less likeable aspects of each personality.

One criticism may well be that Morgan’s script doesn’t probe deep enough into the darker elements of the Hunt story but then the writer has argued that much of this occurred after the years in question.

Instead, he delivers some superb scenes between the two men that tap into the danger and exhilaration of the sport they represent as well as the feelings of the individuals involved. The film’s final scene, in particular, is both touching and poignant.

There’s notable support, too, from the likes of Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara as, respectively, Suzy Miller and Marlene Knaus, the women in these men’s lives, even though – again -some elements feel under-written.

It’s a measure of the film’s success, however, that Rush can overcome these flaws and something of a slow start to emerge as a gripping piece of cinema that engages the brain and the heart, while still delivering its high speed thrills.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 123mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: January 27, 2014