MOVIE REVIEW: Rush – Facing Death & Beating It


Written By: Justin Morales

Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde

Rush is a biopic of the rivalry of James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and their highly competitive 1976 Formula One season. Hunt and Lauda’s rivalry goes way back than just that 1976 season, it actually started six years prior when both drivers were still in Formula Three – lower division of the Formula series. Hunt and Lauda went head to head on the final lap but the race ended with Hunt taking Lauda’s lane which led to Lauda’s car crashing. Even though it was a meaningless race, it was the birth of their rivalry.

Lauda didn’t last long in Formula Three, as he would take out loans and buy his way into a Formula One team and join British Racing Motors in 1971. He was their second driver to Clay Regazzoni (Pierfrancesco Favino) but that didn’t stop him from impressing them. Lauda was a serious driver, he took care of his body and his knowledge of cars was superb. As soon as he received his Formula One car, Lauda had his mechanics come in and changed it immediately. The results? His remake was 2.3 seconds faster than Regazzoni’s. Hunt on the other hand had to wait until 1973, when he finally joined a Formula One team. Hunt was the complete opposite of Lauda. Hunt was the playboy of the racing scene, having sexual encounters with hundreds of women and smoke and drank constantly. He set an image of himself that made it hard for other teams to take him seriously, so when Hunt needed sponsors in 1976, no one came calling. Lauda had just won the Formula One World Championships in 1975 and Hunt wanted nothing to do but race and take that title from his rival. As it seems that Hunt’s racing career was put on hold, McLaren Racing Limited came calling and added Hunt to their team, Hunt promised he was good enough to beat Lauda.

Now it is the 1976 season and this would be the season that would forever be remembered by both drivers. Lauda came out the season with a bang winning the first two races and coming in second in the third race. It wasn’t until the fourth race when Hunt finally earned a ‘W’.  Hunt came in the top three in three of the first nine races while earning two victories but that was nothing compared to Lauda’s five victories while coming in the top 3 in eight of the first nine races. Lauda had a dominant point lead and was on his way to winning back-to-back World Championships but that was all about to change with the German Grand Prix. The rain was coming down hard and it wasn’t safe to drive – Lauda was aware that every time he races there is a 20% chance it might lead to his death which he is okay with buy any percentage higher then that is when he draws the line and with the current weather, Lauda attempted to draw the line by attempting to boycott the race but majority of the racers voted against the boycott and the race went on.

Hunt, who was the voice of the racers who voted against the boycott was determine to win the race to gain more points to narrow Lauda’s lead and furious Lauda was determined to make sure that wasn’t going to happen. But during the second lap of the German Grand Prix that was no longer Lauda’s main concern as he would get into an accident that would change not only the 1976 season but his life as well. Lauda’s car swerved off the track, hit an embankment and rolled back into the path of another racer’s car. Lauda’s Ferrari burst into flames and was trapped in his car. Lauda suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot toxic gases that damaged his lungs and blood. Hunt later went on to win the race but was overlooked as the world was focused more on Lauda.

Lauda went on to fight his life and thanked Hunt for helping him get through this fight. Lauda missed the next four races with Hunt winning two of them and each time Lauda saw Hunt win a race, it just made him want to fight harder and get back to his car and finish the season that he started. Two months after Lauda’s crash, Lauda found himself back on the racetrack just in time for the final two races of the season. Lauda would later come in third with Hunt winning the race and narrowed Lauda’s lead to a simple three points. The winner of the 1976 World Championships all came down to the Japanese Grand Prix, the final race of the season with Hunt down only three points and the weather being worse than it was during the German Grand Prix.

Rush is a excellent way to start the Oscar season – what a breath of fresh air. Ron Howard’s story telling was superb and the casting of Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth couldn’t be any better. Coming into this movie without knowing much background of the two racers, I thought the movie was going to focus more about racing but I was wrong. The cinematography, the acting, the drama were all on a high level where you felt Lauda’s pain while he was fighting for his life and you were on the edge of your seat during the final race of the 1976 season. It came to a point that throughout Rush you were no longer was rooting for one particular driver as the story took as many turns as the tracks that was raced itself.

Rush set the stage for upcoming Oscar movies, as it probably won’t be the best movie of the year – it is one of the best movie we have been given thus far especially after a summer season where we seen a lot of flops. I highly recommend taking out your wallet and going to the theaters to see this film – you won’t regret it.

What The Delio?!: 9/10

Favorite Quote: “A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.” – Niki Lauda