Directed by Ron Howard
Based on a true story from the '70s of rivalry on the race track, Ron Howard's mid-octane Rush finds its focus in a double-character study. Chris Hemsworth is James Hunt, the partyboy who races for the excitement of coming close to death—he pukes before every race—and winning (and surviving) the day; Daniel Brühl is Niki Lauda, the calculated German rival, friendless on the track but also uncaring about that, fine with the calculated 20-percent chance he'll die during any given race, though unwilling to risk any factors that increase that percentage.
They meet on the F3 track, where Hunt's already a star; they start to suss each other out, on-and-off the track, and—partly in spite of and partly inspired by one another—climb their way to the top of F1. Lauda's in a better car at that tier, to Hunt's constant chagrin, but the latter eventually starts closing the points-gap. Watching that rivalry twist into something more personal is the film's most intriguing turn: Hunt roughing up a journalist who badgers Lauda about his relationship, is one of the most revealing, effective moments in the film.
Otherwise, it's pretty roundly watchable, if ultimately a bit shallow in the depths it plumbs. The dual paths to success—passion versus calculation—get their even dues; the race sequences are actually pretty thrilling in moments. The idea of racing's draw towards a particular brand of outsider is given lip-service, but it, like a lot of the other ideas circling that core rivalry, remains underdeveloped. Same goes for both females leads (Alexandra Maria Lara and Olivia Wilde, the latter in a total of maybe 20 minutes of screen time, just enough to go from new romantic flame to boring, cheating drag). V