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Review: Rush (TIFF 2013)

Rush (TIFF 2013)
09.07.2013
100%
8 10

PLOT: The real-life rivalry between Formula One racers Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), from their early days on the F3 circuit to the peak of their fame in the 1976 racing season.

REVIEW: It's ironic that after a couple of stale years, the movie that rockets Ron Howard back to the heights of his directorial prowess is a car movie. Those who've followed his career know that Howard's first film as a director was the Roger Corman car chase movie GRAND THEFT AUTO, so in a way this brings him full circle. Obviously the two movies are wildly different, the former being a b-movie drive in flick, while RUSH is an A-list biopic/Oscar hopeful. Other than cars, what they have in common is that they're both the work of a passionate filmmaker, who seems to be relishing his material, which is something I haven't felt from a Ron Howard movie in a while now.

It helps that the James Hunt/Niki Lauda rivalry is pretty intense, and while the high-pedigree script by Peter Morgan (FROST/NIXON) is clever and classy, it never has to rely on exaggeration. Their rivalry was exciting enough. James Hunt is a pretty charismatic character, being the playboy racer all of us have probably fantasized about being at some point in our lives. Chris Hemsworth is a natural for the part, effortlessly establishing Hunt's insane charisma right from the (great) introduction where he marches into an ER, bruised and bloody, and is able to seduce the sexy nurse on duty (Natalie Dormer) so fast that she has sex with him before stitching him up. Hunt seems like a fun role, and Hemsworth is ideally cast.

As good as he is- and I'd wager he's great- I think Daniel Bruhl steals the show as Lauda. The other day, in my FIFTH ESTATE review, I wrote that Bruhl came off as bland in a fairy uninteresting role. Here, he's arguably got the best part in the film, and he absolutely owns the movie every second he's on screen. Lauda is a less-showy part than Hunt, with him quieter, and more introspective. But, if you know Lauda's story, you'll know that something happens here that changes his perspective on the sport, and makes him into the F1 icon he is to this day. It's a brilliant part for Bruhl, and I'd be he's now a serious contender for a best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars (although it could be argued he's more of a lead).

Next to Hemsworth and Bruhl, the rest of the parts are fairly small, with Olivia Wilde having a memorable, if small part as Hunt's model wife Suzy. However, Alexandra Maria Lara (from CONTROL) has a great part as Lauda's love interest, bringing a warmth to a film that might otherwise have been overwhelmed by the rivalry and the racing. She's a good counterpoint to the two guys.

A lot of credit is due Howard as well, who's managed to turn a movie that could have had an audience that would be limited to F1 devotees, and makes it a pretty universal underdog story. It's also loaded with testosterone, and zips along at a fever pitch. It apparently runs just over two hours but to me it went by lightening fast. The race scenes are superb and even if you're like me and know virtually nothing about the sport, you'll be on the edge of your seat chewing on your fingernails like I was. The propulsive score by Howard regular Hans Zimmer helps.

I'm really thrilled that RUSH ended up being such a strong return to form for Howard, who's a guy you really can't help but like, even when his movies don't deliver. This is probably one of his five best films, and yet another awesome TIFF title.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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11:15PM on 09/07/2013
If this movie makes money, will somebody make a movie about Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher?
If this movie makes money, will somebody make a movie about Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher?
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9:06PM on 09/07/2013
Glad this movie got 8/10. Looking forward to watching it.
Glad this movie got 8/10. Looking forward to watching it.
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7:54PM on 09/07/2013
It does sound good, rivalries are always fun to explore and there's a lot of potential for drama and thrill in the world of Formula One racing. That, and the potential the period setting provides. Ron Howard knows his way around a biopic and Peter Morgan is a brilliant writer.
It does sound good, rivalries are always fun to explore and there's a lot of potential for drama and thrill in the world of Formula One racing. That, and the potential the period setting provides. Ron Howard knows his way around a biopic and Peter Morgan is a brilliant writer.
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7:23PM on 09/07/2013

Looking forward to this one as well

I've liked Chris Hemsworth in everything he's done, and Daniel Brühl (note the umlaut, Chris) is another actor who has always stood out, whether it's GOOD-BYE, LENIN! or his role in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Will definitely check this one out, ASAP.
I've liked Chris Hemsworth in everything he's done, and Daniel Brühl (note the umlaut, Chris) is another actor who has always stood out, whether it's GOOD-BYE, LENIN! or his role in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Will definitely check this one out, ASAP.
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5:10PM on 09/07/2013
Really anticipating this one. The film just looks like brilliant filmmaking from everyone involved.
Really anticipating this one. The film just looks like brilliant filmmaking from everyone involved.
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3:15PM on 09/07/2013
I've actually been pretty anxious to see this. I don't know a thing about F1 racing, but it looks like Howard has made a movie that's as knowledgeable on its subject as Apollo 13 was about NASA in the early '70s. Ron Howard is a director capable of greatness in the Old Hollywood tradition. And I think when he's telling a true story, his movies get even better.
I've actually been pretty anxious to see this. I don't know a thing about F1 racing, but it looks like Howard has made a movie that's as knowledgeable on its subject as Apollo 13 was about NASA in the early '70s. Ron Howard is a director capable of greatness in the Old Hollywood tradition. And I think when he's telling a true story, his movies get even better.
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3:13PM on 09/07/2013

I liked "The Dilemma"

But I like Kill Billionair thought this would be a throw away film but I will definitely check this out now. The final part of 2013 is shaping up to be something.
But I like Kill Billionair thought this would be a throw away film but I will definitely check this out now. The final part of 2013 is shaping up to be something.
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2:58PM on 09/07/2013
Damn, did not expect this at all. The trailers just made it look like some showy, dramatized popcorn flick about the Rush/Lauda rivalry. But between this review and the current 100% rating on RT this seems to be something special.
Damn, did not expect this at all. The trailers just made it look like some showy, dramatized popcorn flick about the Rush/Lauda rivalry. But between this review and the current 100% rating on RT this seems to be something special.
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