Friday, November 1, 2013

Movie Review: Rush (2013)

Movie: Rush (2013)
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, & Natalie Dormer.
One-Line Plot Synopsis: The story of the Formula 1 rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda throughout the 1970’s.

I think three things have become undoubtedly clear to me after seeing this movie, my first in the theater in quite a while:
  1. Chris Hemsworth is light years better than his brother Liam.
  2. This is by far the best car racing movie I’ve seen.
  3. This is my favorite sports movie in the last 10 years, and it’s not even close.
Ron Howard keeps his track record (see what I did there) clean and continues to makes yet another highly enjoyable movie about an interesting subject and story with Rush.  The way he can articulate a story to the audience and make you care about both characters is really something.  He’s a fantastic storyteller with the camera, as is Peter Morgan with his screenplay.  After collaborating on both Frost/Nixon and Rush, I’m hoping to see them work together much more in the future (apparently they’re in the works to do another film in the soon, so cheers to that).  You get to take the point of view of each racer at different points of the movie and see the motivations and intentions behind all of their actions, both in racing and life.  At first glance, the Formula 1 rivalry between James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Bruhl), looks to be the beginnings of a good guy vs. bad guy match-up, as they rise through the ranks of the Formula race-car driving circuit.  However, as the movie delves deeper into each character’s life, you find out that both are trying to overcome obstacles in their lives and succeed at something that they’re each extremely passionate about.  It’s a riveting story played equally well by the two leads.  The back-and-forth scenes with Hemsworth and Bruhl are definitely the standout scenes in the film and the actors are both great in their own right.
The supporting characters are there to deepen our relationship with the two leads and provide a reminder of a longing to belong rather than something that is purely outcome driven in each of their personalities.  In a cast that has so many minor characters, there isn’t one that I could point to and say that this movie could have been better served to do without.  They all fill out the cast extremely well.  Olivia Wilde continues her upward trajectory in the roles she's choosing lately and seems to have gotten the hang of what type of movies she should choose these days…so, good for her.
The cinematography and inter-cutting of actual footage flows seamlessly and is riveting to watch on the big screen.  This is one of those movies that is worth the price of admission to see in the theater rather than waiting for it to come out on DVD.  I could only imagine what this film would have looked like on an IMAX screen, as I was already so impressed with it on the regular one.
In the end, this movie isn’t going to make me any more interested in watching a Formula 1 race than I was before, but if I come across this movie playing while I’m flipping through the movie channels in the future, there is no way that I’m not watching it through the end…every time. 
Rating: 9.25/10
Side Notes:
  • It took me FOREVER to figure out that Niki Luada was the German sniper from Inglorious Bastards.  I had to ask my brother what he was from after about 20 minutes, ‘cause he looked so damn familiar.  As it turns out, Bruhl wore prosthetic teeth to replicate Lauda’s overbite, which was what was probably throwing me off a little bit.
  • Hemsworth looks like he lost a lot of weight going from Thor to James Hunt.