Rush--directed by Ron Howard/ written by Peter Morgan/starring Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde/123 minutes/rated R
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der, Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR): This film is based on a true story of a legendary racing rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The fact that it was a true story was what drew me to the film in the first place, not to mention the devilishly handsome Chris Hemsworth. With the exception of a few spectacular crash scenes, the storyline fell short of my anticipations. Hemsworth played a believable part of the womanizing, playboy-daredevil well enough, while Bruhl was much more cautious and intense in his approach to racing and to acting the character. Ironically, the highlight of the movie was the fiery crash that left the Niki Lauda character severely burned and disfigured. Niki Lauda, in real life (and in this film) tenaciously fought back from his injuries, to return to the racetrack,--probably before he should have--to compete with James Hunt. It was the rivalry that sustained him. For me, it might have been the dialogue, but something was just not as exciting as it could have been. I don’t find fault with the performances. It’s just that this kind of story had the potential for much more substance. There are only so many car crashes and racing scenes that I can stand, and the love interest was bland by comparison. If the chemistry exploded on the screen like some of the formula cars did, I may have upped my rating. As is, I give this one 2 and ½ binoculars.
(OG): Throughout the viewing of this film, I had two nagging problems. First (and I am a big Ron Howard fan, usually) every cinematic scene seemed completely staged and self-conscious. I never got the feeling that the characters thought they were doing anything else but acting in a movie. People did not move naturally, always aware of the camera and their lines. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I feel. Second, even though I knew this was based upon a true story, my mind kept going back to Le Mans, the Steve McQueen movie that focused on a rivalry between two drivers and the playboy lifestyle that often accompanies the fast-paced, death defying occupation of racecar driving. I’m glad Barbara (and apparently many young people) enjoyed the eye-candy (Hemsworth and Wilde) and appreciated the intense acting of Bruhl, but I was often bored. I give this one only a 1 and ½. It just never grabbed me.