In 1976, two very different men were driven to out maneuver each other over the course of several dangerous globe-spanning races: charming English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and less fun whip smart Austrian, Nikki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Two-time Best Director Oscar winner Ron Howard (Cinderella Man) puts the pedal to the metal delivering a best-seen-on-the-big screen adaption of their race to be the best.
Hemsworth is easy on the eyes, fun to hang with, but Brühl's portrayal as Lauda leaves the Norse God in the dust.
Five things to know about Rush:
1. Better Then Grand Theft Auto… as in Howard's directorial debut, the 1977 driver-focused film. Howard waived his fee at the chance to finally direct. He also played the lead, Sam Freeman who steals a Rolls Royce from the father of an heiress (Nancy Morgan) who he's secretly just eloped with before speeding off to Vegas! If on the way, the Rolls broke down, he'll no doubt hit Y to jack another.
2. Niki Lauda: Man with the Plan. Hunt (Hemsworth) is the guy on the poster. The narrator of the film is his Austrian competitor, Niki Lauda (Brühl). Lauda was the opposite of Hunt, an always calculating, never risk-taking, never partying racer whose facial features made him look "rat-like". (Brühl wears make-up to appear mousier.)
On second thought, maybe Hemsworth was the right choice for that poster…
3. Morgan and Howard: Dream Team. Screenwriter Peter Morgan excels at bouts between smart people, the Queen and Tony Blair in The Queen or Howard's last film Frost/Nixon. The verbal spats between Hunt and Lauda sizzle, but the races – like the the rain-soaked ones - keep the heart pounding.
4. Thor says Stay Away From the Trailer! This year, theaters chains met to discuss a proposed shortening of trailers from 2:30 min to just two. A great idea, often the approved for all audience's commercials give way TMI. In the case of Rush, some of the big best moments are spoiled. If you're a racing buff, you probably know the "based on a true story" stuff anyways, but we sure didn't.
5. 70s Formula 1 Racing was for Men Only. Women Relegated to Pit Stops. Olivia Wilde (Drinking Buddies) forces an unnatural-sounding English accent as Hunt's wife, Suzy Miller. Alexandra Maria Lara fares better in her own Eastern European tongue as Lauda's gal, Marlene. The meet cute between Nikki and Marlene in an Italian countryside shows the professional racer that car trouble can be a blessing.