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 (Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Bruhl). 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.
To the untrained eye, this may seem like a film which focuses on the car racing scenes above the characters, but Ron Howard decides to focus on James Hunt and Niki Lauda, on their personal struggles and their famous rivalry, having it take precedence over the race scenes, and that's not a bad thing.
Howard's direction may make it feel like the film's moving at too quick a pace early on by cutting out moments, but he's actually focusing on the integral moments, with no scene feeling wasted. The quick editing also enhances the race scenes, making them into some of the more pulse pounding scenes to come out of any film from this year. The integration of real-life footage lets you not forget that this is a real life story playing out.
|Always awkward when some wears the same thing as you|
Predictably, Lauda's cold heart is melted, as he develops into more of a sympathetic figure, particularly after the events of Germany. While it may seem frustrating that Hunt remains the cocky partying figure, he gets little moments of development, with his attack of an interviewer with his own camera ranking as one of the year's best cinematic moments.
Rush is one of the best biographies made about a sporting film. Hemsworth, Brühl and Howard are all more than deserving of recognition at the awards.