Everyone loves a great sport rivalry. There is something about watching two titans give each other a run for their money that excites crowds and brings even more passion to a sport.
Ron Howard (“The Da Vinci Code”) manages to capture this magic in his latest directorial effort “Rush,” which retells the 1976 rivalry between very different Formula One champions James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Howard’s well-seasoned technique, along with a strong cast, brings the heated rivalry to life again in this exciting and fast-paced film.
The cast is headed up by Chris Hemsworth (“The Avengers”) playing James Hunt, the British Formula One driver who had a larger-than-life playboy reputation off the track.
Hemsworth may be best known for playing the god of thunder in several Marvel films, but proves here that he is capable of being the leading man in a film where he doesn’t have to wear a cape. He is extremely charming as the arrogant and reckless Hunt.
Though Hemsworth’s face is on the movie’s poster, the real scene-stealer of this film is Daniel Bruhl (“Inglorious Basterds”) as type-A Austrian racer Niki Lauda.
Bruhl gives a captivating performance as the brutally honest Lauda, not playing him as hero or a villain, but rather a truly complex and focused man who believed in himself when no one else did.
Lauda’s story is one that is fascinating to watch unfold on the big screen, not only for his rivalry with Hunt, but also his amazing comeback after a serious crash.
Bruhl and Hemsworth work as a perfect yin and yang. Their characters are vastly different, but both strive for the same goal. Their strong acting is what really paints this rivalry for the viewers, and the film simply would not have worked as well if one actor were much weaker than the other.
Howard, along with his two leading men, brought the world of Formula One to the screen with skill and authenticity. Formula One is nowhere near as popular in the U.S. as it is in Europe, but Howard has always been able to adapt his filmmaking style to create a believable setting for any viewer.
With “Rush”, Howard told an inspiring sports story without ever crossing the line into a cheese fest. The movie is honest, enthralling and fun to watch.
“Rush” really does the great rivalry between Hunt and Lauda justice and is a victory for all involved.