The only film depicting the most dramatic events and drivers in Formula 1 history.
Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth
Budget: 40 million | Box office: 90 million (9 weeks)
It‘s hard to believe that there has never been a serious feature film about the most popular motor sport in the world, which has been the main attraction point for more than seventy years. Even much less popular Le Mans race has the dedicated and famous film with Steve McQueen. There was not even a serious and good quality documentary about F1 till three years ago. But thankfully, that movie, Senna, got so much attention, that it paved the way for the full blown feature film.
It‘s hard to tell why there was no serious intentions to produce a movie about Formula 1. The most probable reasons seems the complexity of such idea, requiring quite a big budget, and a comparative lack of interest of this sport in USA. So considering that the idea of Rush seemed marvellous from the very beginning. It was taken by one of the most successful and prolific directors Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, etc.), who managed to attract the actors and enough budget to make a high quality F1 film.
Looking at Howard‘s earlier work and into the history of Formula 1 itself, it‘s clear why he chose such plot for the film. From such a long history and many legendary driver‘s stories, he chose to focus just on the beginning of seventies and two young drivers – British James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda. And it definitely was a right decision, because that period of Formula 1 was the most intensive and exceptional, with drivers trying to cope with huge car power and lack of safety. The good thing is that in the film this idea is not overused and the main focus is not about car crashes and drivers deaths. That topic is explored in new documentary film called 1.
In Rush the center stage is given to people instead, two drivers, brilliantly played by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. It‘s hard to believe that this is true story and not the creation of scriptwriters, as such dramatic events come together in such a short time. Two totally opposite personalities came together to race and fight each other. James Hunt was a total party guy, drinking till late before races, but always unbelievably quick. And Niki Lauda – always calculating, engineering expert who didn‘t enjoy publicity and considered F1 a serious work. They became the center of attention in 1976 championship, which changed not only their destinies, but shaped all the future of Formula 1, in essence till the present days.
From the two actors it was especially nice to see German Daniel Bruhl in such a complicated role. I first saw him in very memorable and especially meaningful for post Soviet countries film Goodbye Lenin, but he didn‘t have almost any bigger role outside his country, except Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards. In Rush he really gave himself into the role of Niki Lauda with elaborate accent and bright character features. It‘s really worth to watch some documentary and compare.
The film style in general was really convincing too. Looks like it was created during that period. And again the good thing is that it‘s actually slow, especially in the beginning, giving time to admire the real cars and feel yourself the danger of such racing. The film‘s authentic was already praised by many experts, including Niki Lauda himself. I‘m sure Rush will be among this year‘s best films in many awards.
In the end there is a question though about the film‘s appeal to wider audience, who are not interested in Formula 1 sport itself. I‘m an F1 fan so for me the film was a tremendously thrilling and engaging experience, but I‘m sure it was also because I‘ve seen a real race. Of course current F1 cars are less powerful and much more safe than in Rush, but I bet the feeling when you see and hear these marvellous cars charging close by is as much unique as it was in those days. I really recommend such experience to everyone and Rush can become a very good reason to start following this exceptional motor sport.