With Ryan experiencing technical difficulties at the theatre, it is Andy here with a solo look at the Ron Howard directed Rush (R).
Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl costar as rival Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the mid-70s. Based on a true story, the film follows the two drivers as their rivalry shapes both their professional and personal lives.
In many ways, Rush serves as the action movie companion to Howard’s 2008 movie Frost / Nixon. While Frost/Nixon was a better movie, both films delve into 70s culture as seen through two larger-than-life personalities. That film was highly political and word-driven, where Rush is more about what motivates people to achieve greatness and is driven by riveting action. The two leads here are solid, both creating believable, obsessed men who strive to be the best at what they do. The film is built on the premise that sometimes having an enemy can motivate one toward greatness. The foil the two actors supply for each other is effective, as their rivalry pushes the story and the action forward.
In spite of the solid performances and captivating action, Rush feels like something is holding it back from greatness. It is technically sound and a compelling story, but it seems to lack contemporary relevance. Often filmmakers use a story from the past to comment on issues of today. Rush seems more like an isolated period piece than current commentary, which is fine, but it also makes the film seem to lack ideological urgency. Furthermore, the movie often jumps forward months at a time (perhaps appropriately for a movie called Rush) giving it a disjointed feel. Ultimately, these are minor complaints for an otherwise interesting film.
Rush has a rare combination of compelling action and quality acting, earning a final grade of B+.