Refreshingly, Rush has Ron Howard showing as much directorial flare as he’s ever had. He’s always been a serviceable director, but he often doesn’t bring much vision to a project, as evident in movies like The Da Vinci Code and A Beautiful Mind. Not to say that those are bad movies (heck, A Beautiful Mind won the Best Picture Oscar), but they are more great stories than great pieces of cinema.
Something about Rush energized the director, and thank goodness. The story isn’t particularly one for the ages. Set in 1976, it showcases the real-life rivalry between two race car drivers, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. They meet each other on a Formula 3 track and the competition immediately begins. It’s a game of one upmanship between two men coming from very different point of views.
James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth) is a reckless, womanizing, sexy, charming, free spirit who wants to have as much fun as possible in between speeding down the raceway. Niki (Daniel Bruhl) is more focused on the task at hand, analyzing every moment on the track, and spending his downtime quietly.
Pushing each other to one another’s limits leads to a horrific crash that has severe consequences…but that’s not the end of the story. It all leads to an exhilarating final race that Howard puts everything he’s got into. Along with strong direction, it’s great seeing Hemsworth show how much charm he really has. While he’s a great action hero in Thor and Snow White And The Huntsman, those roles don’t allow for much personality. Here, he gets to show it in spades and makes this cocky bastard pretty damn enjoyable to watch. Hemsworth proves to be a leading man that has a lot more talent than he’s been able to show in the past.
Rush isn’t a movie that has a lasting impact, but it’s an enjoyable ride.