Once in a while you stumble upon a great movie. I had heard from many sources that Ron Howard’s film Rush is worth watching. And it definitely lived up to the expectations! Warning: be prepared for the “spoilers” :-).
Rush brings to life the historic Grand Prix rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The story was well told. Chris Hemsworth, known from plays such as Thor, stars as the charismatic Englishman James Hunt. He’s flamboyant, vigorous and lives in the moment, is all for passion and love. This in stark contrast to the brilliant and legendary Niki Lauda, played by the German Daniel Brühl, who is much more about the numbers and doesn’t really give himself the time to enjoy our earthly pleasures. A particular quote of his: hapiness is the enemy. It makes you weak and you see all there is to lose.
But there’s one thing they have in common. Both of them are disowned by their families and both have a heart for racing F3000. As the story goes, Nike Lauda gets a loan and buys himself into Formula 1. He quickly gets sponsorship from Ferrari. James Hunt enters without sponsorship, but has to go with the Mclaren team eventually.
It’s the international racetrack’s golden and decadent age in the middle 70s. The new season kicks off and Niki Lauda rises. James Hunt loses from his rival. You get to see how Hunt gets disqualified because Lauda signals that Hunt’s tires are 1,5 cm too wide. That’s Niki Lauda: he follows the rules. Playboy Hunt is madly furious, drinks more and more and his relationship with his wife also comes to an end. Then the next season, during one reason the weather is dreadful and Niki Lauda calls a meeting and advices to stop the reason. He thinks it’s too dangerous out there on the race track. But his Grand Prix colleagues are not accepting, James Hunt atop, “it’s tactics”. So Niki Lauda has no other choice: the race must go on. This becomes a nightmare. Niki Lauda ends up in an accident that is near to fatal. For over a minute, he’s in a coffin that is over 800 degrees. His lungs almost get burnt up and his face is severly damaged. While recovering, Lauda watches Hunt get stronger and make his way up to the pole position. Ironically, it is this that gives the Austrian back his strenght. Lauda, shockingly gets back in no time. The story ends with the astonishing and determining 1976 race in Japan, in which both drivers are willing to risk everything to become world champion in a sport with no margin for error: if you make a mistake, you die. But Lauda surrenders. The rainy Fuji-track is too risky he decides. James Hunt has to be third to become the world champion. And miraculously, he does it. The Niki Lauda looks back on his life and recognizes that James Hunt was the only one he tragically envied. Hunt dies young due to his “rushed” lifestyle. It’s a sad end in a way.
Besides the snoring cars and spectacular races, this movie is not really about Formula 1. It documents the different personal styles on and off the trackof Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The movie is well paced and has some spectacular Grand Prix footage, including crashes. Add some glamorous women like Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara, and well, you are all set!