Champagne-quaffing playboy James Hunt and his dour Formula 1 rival Niki Lauda are the chalk-and-cheese protagonists of Rush, a slick, exhilarating, hugely entertaining movie set during the sport’s unbelievably dangerous 1970s heyday.
Hunt, played with cavalier swagger by a perfectly cast Chris Hemsworth, cavorts with models and air hostesses on the eve of a race; the calculating Lauda, played by an equally convincing Daniel Brühl, huddles with his mechanics.
Writer Peter Morgan and director Ron Howard (makers of Frost/Nixon) get terrific mileage from these contrasting personalities, though they don’t probe particularly deeply into their heroes’ psyches and do over-rev some of the off-track drama. But the action has such flash and dash that it seems churlish to complain.
We may never quite feel we’re inside Hunt and Lauda’s heads, but the tyre-scorching, nerve-shredding races – shot beautifully through a petrol haze by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle and given extra charge by Hans Zimmer’s propulsive score – are so electrifying it does feel as though we’re strapped in the cockpit alongside them.
Released on Blu-ray, DVD & VOD on Monday 27th January by StudioCanal. Extras include deleted scenes, and making-of and real-story features.
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