Rush

Rush

2013, R, 123 min. Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, Christian McKay, Natalie Dormer.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Sept. 27, 2013

Rush, a film about two real-life titans of Formula One racing in the Seventies, splits its narrative between these oil-and-water personalities, which feels about right: It's only half of a good movie.

If you filter the rivalry of the Austrian Niki Lauda (Brühl) and the British golden boy James Hunt (Hemsworth, dazzling but one-dimensional) through a child's lens – why not, the film pits them as sulky schoolboys trading taunts – then the cautious and precise Lauda is all about coloring between the lines, whereas the daredevil cocksman Hunt would rather shred the coloring book into confetti in anticipation of his next win. Hunt's is the flashier part, one long romp through high hedonism (only limply explored), but Lauda's is the more interesting, and the film suffers when it strays from Brühl's superlative performance, all clenched teeth and coiled pounce.

Director Ron Howard has had a curious career, bouncing between populist entertainments (The Da Vinci Code, EdTV) and more prestige-minded pictures (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon). What's consistent throughout is a sure-handed showmanship served with, shall we say, a good hunk of cheese. In the dumb music cues (let's all agree to retire "Gimme Some Lovin,'" eh?) and sex stuff shot with the enthusiasm of a professional prude purple-nurpling himself till he cries uncle and acquiesces to an erotic encounter, that Velveeta-grade cheese goops all over what feels like an earnest effort at something grittier and more artful. And there is real artistry here – in the gorgeous saturated colors, the tensely and thrillingly rendered race sequences, and the dramatic heft of that one-half of the plot. Rush may begin as a two-man race, but Brühl's Lauda wins by a landslide.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Rush
Rush’s Grand Design
Rush’s Grand Design
New Hall of Fame inductees open tour at Erwin Center

Raoul Hernandez, April 24, 2013

Vital Signs
Vital Signs
Live review of Rush at the Frank Erwin Center

Raoul Hernandez, June 13, 2011

More Ron Howard
Opie on Top
Opie on Top
AFF to honor Ron Howard's extraordinary contribution to filmmaking

Kimberley Jones, July 14, 2009

More Ron Howard Films
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Should you have a bad feeling about this stand-alone Star Wars?

Richard Whittaker, May 25, 2018

Inferno
Hanks tours the museums of Europe trying to save the world

Kimberley Jones, Oct. 28, 2016

More by Kimberley Jones
Review: <I>A Discovery of Witches</i>
Review: A Discovery of Witches
Miniseries shakes Twilight's shadow for a more feminist fantasy

Jan. 16, 2019

AFS Spotlights the Early Work of <I>Support the Girls</I> Director Andrew Bujalski
AFS Spotlights the Early Work of Support the Girls Director Andrew Bujalski
Three from the heart

Jan. 4, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Rush, Ron Howard, Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, Christian McKay, Natalie Dormer

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle