Rush, Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl

Jaap Buitendijk/Universal Studios

Will you be racing to the movie theater next Friday to watch Rush? It seems like the critics think you should.

The Ron Howard-directed biopic starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl tells the story of Formula One star James Hunt's (Hemsworth) merciless rivalry with fellow driver Niki Lauda (Brühl) as the duo sought to win the 1976 World Championship at Fuji in Japan, and according to early reviews, Howard's latest work is genius.

But you don't have to take our word for it...

Variety says, "Mozart vs. Salieri. Kennedy vs. Khrushchev. Gates vs. Jobs. Add to that list of epic clashes Formula 1 adversaries James Hunt and Niki Lauda, whose larger-than-life bout for the 1976 world championship title fuels Ron Howard's exhilarating Rush—not just one of the great racing movies of all time, but a virtuoso feat of filmmaking in its own right, elevated by two of the year's most compelling performances. It's high-octane entertainment that demands to be seen on the bigscreen, assembled for grown-ups and executed in such a way as to enthrall even those who've never watched a race in their life."

The Hollywood Reporter states, "Most modern-era car racing movies, from Grand Prix and Le Mans to Days of Thunder, have been far stronger at portraying the excitement on the track than at developing interesting downtime drama among the characters. But rather the reverse is true with Rush, which offers perfectly coherent racing coverage but devotes far more time to exploring the personalities of two drivers who represented behavioral polar extremes and drove each other to distraction."

• "Rush hits a few potholes, but in the end it reveals the psyches of two men who only feel alive when they're cheating death," Entertainment Weekly writes.

• "Rush breaks the mould; its racing scenes are thrilling, and the personal dynamics in the pits and away from the track genuinely intriguing. Here's a Formula One story that's not just for petrolheads," The Telegraph writes. "Of course, it's not really a Hollywood picture at all, but a generously budgeted independent film. Rush combines studios' production values and their penchant for action with British-flavoured storytelling."

Independent states, "True to its title, Rush makes rousing viewing, even if the adrenalin thrill of the race sequences themselves can't always disguise the cliché-ridden aspects of Morgan's screenplay."

Forbes writes, "It is very much in the Ron Howard wheelhouse via its emphasis on character over spectacle, acting over action, and story over style. It is the kind of solid studio programmer that might have felt like just another weekend big studio release in another era, but now feels like a breath of fresh air."

The Huffington Post says, "It's not only one of the better racing films, it's one of Howard's best. For Morgan, who also penned another distinct sports film, 2009's The Damned United, it's yet another example of his great talent for taking seemingly minor true stories and expanding them operatically."

• "Bright, brash and unashamedly formulaic, this is thrillingly accessible fare, aiming more for the straight lines of the home stretch than the tricky curves of those treacherous corners, with Howard keeping one eye always on the grandstand," The Guardian explains.

(Originally published on Sept. 18, 2013, at 9:09 p.m. PT)

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