I knew that Ron Howard's latest film, Rush, was based on a true story, however going into the movie, I had never heard of Niki Lauda or James Hunt. The events detailed in the movie happened in the early-mid seventies and I was born in 77. I can never answer any Sports and Leisure questions in Trivial Pursuit.
Rush is a compelling story because of Lauda and Hunt. They are both such strong competitors with strong personalities. The Austrian and Brit couldn't be more polar opposite. Lauda is aloof, serious and focused, while Hunt is a gregarious playboy. Early in their career, the two men develop a rivalry that fuels their drive to win while competing in Formula 1 racing.
If the story hadn't been based on true events, it wouldn't have been half as compelling. In fact, it probably would have felt overly contrived and predictable. The real life drama of the story and the dangers that the drivers faced, is what kept the intensity high throughout the film. The actual events and people involved provided such a strong frame work that it would have been difficult to really screw up this film.
Chris Hemsworth (Hunt) and Daniel Bruhl (Lauda), were perfectly cast. At the end of the movie, they show pictures of the real Hunt and Lauda and I was surprised by how much the actors physically looked like the real men. Truthfully though, it doesn't matter how much they look like the real deal, as the magic in the casting was the chemistry between the two actors and the way that they embodied their roles.
The racing sequences are exciting. Howard uses a lot of close-up shots to make the audiences feel like they are part of the action. Unfortunately, he also over uses those close-up shots for practically everything in the film. After awhile, it was distracting and felt like a gimmick. Less would have been more.
Although a solid film, I guarantee that Rush will largely be forgotten when awards season rolls around. It was good and I'm glad that I saw it in theaters, but it isn't a movie that is a stand-out. I would have enjoyed learning about the Lauda/Hunt story through a book or a documentary, as much as I did by watching this movie. My interest in the true life story of the two men superseded the format in which their story was told.