ByNir Shalev, writer at
Nir Shalev

Even as a car enthusiast I hadn’t heard of James Hunt or Niki Lauda. I wasn’t ever into car races as I was simply into cars. But after watching Rush, I felt that I missed out on something very special.

Based on the absolutely true story of the famous rivalry between F1 champions Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Lauda (Daniel Brühl), Rush is a terrifically fast paced and entirely fascinating character study of two polar opposite personalities; Hunt, the clichéd tall, Blonde Adonis womanizer who drinks like a fish, and Lauda, the short, mousy know-it-all. Hunt uses his skills as a top tier race car driver to go win sponsors and reach the top and Lauda, who didn’t have the backing, buys his way into the world of championship car racing.

At first, everyone looks down on Lauda because he’d used money rather skills in order to “join the club”. But they all soon find out, even his personal mechanics, that he’s a genius when it comes to engines and everything else that’s to do with cars. No matter what vehicle he drives or sits inside, he knows what is happening at all times. He knows which tire needs more air, which intake valve is misbehaving, and which differential is out of whack. He eventually designs his own F1 vehicle and is then able to showcase his skills on the racetrack. And he doesn’t disappoint.

Hunt, as aforementioned, drinks like a fish and womanizes whenever possible. Lauda looks down on that type of behaviour and consistently butts his face into Hunt’s business, speaking his mind without being asked for an opinion. Hunt grows annoyed with Lauda’s attitude towards clean living and his mouse-like appearance and a rivalry ensues.

That’s just a small part of what the film has to offer. I will refrain from mentioning anything that happens during the second half of the film because it comes out of left field. It drastically changes the style and the tone of the film but isn’t unwelcome. It’s actually, mostly what the film is about, childish rivalries aside.

The film’s theatrical posters are terribly misleading because they only contain Hemsworth’s face. I write the word “misleading” because Lauda is actually the film’s “main character”, not to be confused with “protagonist”. Not only does Lauda upstage Hunt on the race track and showcase a far more fascinating personality, but the second half of the film, which, again, I will refrain from writing about, focuses mainly on him. I won’t write why, I’ll just leave it at that. Trust me. You don’t want spoilers.

Rush is one of the very best film of 2013 which is, mysteriously absent from each category in the 2014 Oscar nominations. If I’d sat in the Oscars committee I would nominate the film for Best Actor (Brühl), Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects.

The film delivers excellence in all categories, including Hemsworth’s performances, but most especially in the entertainment department. I don’t watch car races (F1, Rally, NASCAR, etc.) but I was thoroughly interested in the film’s characters, their stories, and the amazingly shot racing sequences (and the crashes!) This film might not entertain on the small screen as well as it did in the theatres and so, I issue a recommendation to watch it on Blu-ray while surrounded by a great audio system. Go to a relative’s or a friend’s house and watch it there if you have to. Bring the kids! It’s thrilling, it’s educational, and most importantly, it’s terrifically entertaining.

The special features are Race for the Checkered Flag: The Making of Rush; The Real Story of Rush; and Deleted Scenes.


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