Monday, October 7, 2013


Rush is a movie about car racing. If you don't care about cars or racing, odds are pretty good you won't like this movie. You're also unlikely to enjoy this movie if you're squeamish - there's a fair amount of graphic depiction of injuries. There's also gratuitous nudity.

All of those things definitely belong in the world of this movie, though. Rush is based on a true story, and appears to mostly follow what actually happened. The main characters are James Hunt, a British playboy, and Niki Lauda, a cerebral Austrian. Their rivalry was the central story in the 1976 Formula One season, which is also the focal point of the movie.

I am assured that the cars themselves are accurate, and certainly the major crash which is mentioned in the trailer is faithfully reproduced. The video is on YouTube, so it's easy to check. Some off-track details are apparently less accurate, but in general the film appears to capture the spirit of the two drivers. Their polar opposite personalities are a large part of why the story is compelling.

And it is compelling. The two main characters are both broken in fascinatingly different ways, and watching their lives collide and shatter is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes infuriating, sometimes funny, but never boring.

The movie's main flaw is that neither of the main characters are likable. Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt is charismatic and irritatingly good-looking (though not as good as he looks in Thor), but the character is so obviously self-destructive that it's hard to root for him. Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda is surly and rude (and eerily resembles the real Niki Lauda, complete with overbite), so it's hard to root for him. Neither one is a hero, and while this is depressingly realistic, it makes for frustrating cinema at times.

Regular readers will know that I complain frequently about shakycam. This movie has shakycam, and I had a bit of a headache coming out of the theater, but I have no complaints about the camerawork. It was painful and disorienting at times, but it wasn't done without reason. These cars were monsters, and the rough camerawork during the racing scenes conveys that in a visceral way that nothing else could have.

In sum: Rush is a racing movie that is really about the interactions of two talented but deeply flawed men whose rivalry played out on the world stage and back stage, with lives and large amounts of money at stake.

1. Gravity
2. Much Ado About Nothing
3. Now You See Me
4. The World's End
5. Despicable Me 2
6. Star Trek: Into Darkness
7. Oblivion
8. Pacific Rim
9. Rush
10. Iron Man 3
11. Kick Ass 2
12. Man of Steel
13. Jack the Giant Slayer
14. Beautiful Creatures
15. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
16. The Family
17. RIPD
18. Oz the Great and Powerful
19. Epic
20. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
21. The Wolverine
22. Elysium
23. Monsters University
24. Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters
25. The Grandmaster
26. The Great Gatsby
27. The Lone Ranger
28. This is the End

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