Monday, October 28, 2013

Movie with Abe: Rush

Directed by Ron Howard
Released September 27, 2013

One of the most important things in a movie, especially a sports movie, is to make sure that what matters to the characters matters to the audience. In the case of a film about two race car drivers whose bitter rivalry was what made them both famous, it’s important that viewers comprehend the feel and power of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a car on a racetrack. “Rush” accomplishes that immediately, presenting the parallel stories of its two characters from their own perspectives and telling an extremely engaging story of the ups and downs of their careers in relation to one another.

Promotional posters for “Rush” spotlight Chris Hemsworth, likely because he’s a far more recognizable face than German actor Daniel Bruhl, who does get to share top billing and have his face on the poster for “The Fifth Estate,” another current film in which he stars. Seeing Hemsworth featured suggests that the story of his character, British racer James Hunt, is the more important one. That’s far from the case, however, and his rival, German Niki Lauda, portrayed by Bruhl, wisely gets the opportunity to introduce himself first and explain his connection to the other racer. Their lives are intertwined, but neither plays second fiddle to the other.

Director Ron Howard has a certain style that has been present in the Oscar-nominated films he has made over the past twelve years. “A Beautiful Mind,” “Cinderella Man,” and “Frost/Nixon” all tell rather basic stories about complicated people in an overtly dramatic fashion, and that’s definitely true of “Rush.” From its opening moments, it is inherently cinematic, using purposeful cinematography to convey its events in a stark, gritty way, and utilizing a fantastic score by the dependable Hans Zimmer. The film sounds as good as it looks, and this is one cohesive experience that makes for an excellent film-going adventure.

Hemsworth is an indisputably charismatic actor, and he puts that charm into overdrive here as the confident, self-destructive Hunt. Bruhl, given a far better role here than in “The Fifth Estate,” is formidable as self-assured loner Lauda, who knows just how good he is but sees little value in human relationships. In the supporting cast, Alexandra Maria Lara, Olivia Wilde, Christian McKay, Stephen Mangan, and Natalie Dormer all make impressions as part of a tremendous whole. The script by Peter Morgan, who penned “The Queen” and “The Last King of Scotland,” among others, is superb, and represents both central characters with equal commitment. The film’s title is perhaps its best descriptor, and it’s hard not to be swayed by the excitement and the suspense present in this quality biopic.


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