Set against the sexy, glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of a great sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt, and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda. The story follows their distinctly different personal styles on and off the track, their loves and the astonishing 1976 season in which both drivers were willing to risk everything to become world champion in a sport with no margin for error: if you make a mistake, you die.
I’ve been waiting a while to check out this film and boy is it worth the wait. Rush primarily focuses on not just the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt, but about the men themselves. Unfortunately this leaves not much room for the rest of the drivers in that 1976 season of Formula one to be in the spotlight much except for Clay Regazzoni, Lauda’s team-mate.
What was also great to see told was the similarities of both men getting into Formula 1 from Formula 3 and buying their way into F1 but their personalities couldn’t be anymore different. Niki is the methodical person, spending more time in creating the most reliable car to drive in thus making him appear cold when talking to someone as he doesn’t come across as a people person. James was the polar opposite, the one who lived in the moment, almost a rockstar lifestyle but also a serious driver.
The film doesn’t dwell too much on the racing as the primary focus and is all the better for it, giving you a more in depth detail in the personal lives of each men. The racing scenes themselves are done well, though some will complain that the CGI may be a bit dodgy if you focus on it too much.
It should be noted as this is Chris Hemsworth best role thus far in his career as he plays James Hunt with the right amount of arrogance, cockiness and confidence to make you believe that you can’t see any other actor in the role. This role proved that Hemsworth is to be taken seriously, if those doubted him before that he would be nothing more than the Thor guy. The real standout for me though is Daniel Brühl as he plays Niki Lauda with the right amount of cold determination to succeed. His mannerisms, the accent, make you pay attention to what he is doing all the time on screen. The rest of the cast is solid, especially Alexandra Maria Lara as Niki’s wife Marlene Lauda.
Personal favourite scene isn’t even a moment in the race or Hunt/Lauda on screen together in many of their exchanges, but when James Hunt beats up a journalist after he questions Niki on whether his marriage will survive with his facial scarring. Sure the incident didn’t occur in real life (neither does some of the stuff here) but it’s something that works well in terms of the story.
Fantastically well made film covering the two different personalities but respected rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, with Daniel Brühl as a relevation as Niki Lauda and Chris Hemsworth is also great as James Hunt. A must see for all Formula 1/racing fans. 9/10