By Laurie Coker
Formula 1 racing is of no interest to me, but I do enjoy looking at Chris Hemsworth, and his new film Rush caught my eye when I saw a trailer and not just because of Hemsworth. Two-time Academy Award winning director Ron Howard follows up on trailer promises with an edge-of-the seat tale of two racing rivals, who form an inexplicable bond with a passion for speed.
Based on a true story of racing legends James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) whose love for racing and speed and public and fiery rivalry won them both World Drivers’ Championships in the 1970s. Polar opposites in looks and lives, but not in desire, Lauda an Austrian and Hunt knew they risked their lives every time they hit the track, but treacherous weather made the job far more risky, and in 1976, Lauda nearly lost his life in a fiery crash, but surprised the racing world by returning just 48 days after he suffered severe burns to his head. He couldn’t bear to see Hunt win and Hunt to, a womanizing, boozing, full-out Wildman, lived to race and to beat Lauda.
Hemsworth give the best performance of his career thus far and Brühl brings a subtle and passion performance as a man, so driven by his desires that his focus never wanes. These actors and Howards masterful direction keep audience members engage and biting nails throughout and not just because of the incredible race sequences but because of the tense, taunting and terrific relationship between the characters and the apparent chemistry of its stars. Hemsworth is every bit the playboy and Brühl the more unwavering thorn in his side. Truthfully, it was Hunt who seemed drive Brühl nuts both on and off the track.
I believe Rush, rated PG-13, will take its leading men and Howard right to Oscar nominations and it will take a spot as one of my favorites of the year. Not only for fans of racing, Rush will please those who admire Howard and love an action packed, character driven thrill ride. I am placing an A in my grade book.