Speed fans, rejoice. Not your thing? Well, rejoice anyway. You’re in for a ride, regardless of your knowledge of motor racing. Petrolheads will certainly be pleased - 'Rush' is a sincere and mostly accurate celebration of motor racing as it was in the 1970s. But more importantly, it’s a slick, finely crafted drama and a tale of intense rivalry.
It’s a good script from Peter Morgan ('The Queen', 'Frost/Nixon') who has a knack for developing strong, clashing characters. The relationship between F1 legends James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) is tense, dynamic and at times very funny. This is bolstered by top acting from Hemsworth and Brühl, whose turns are convincing and sympathetic.
For a racing picture, there’s not actually that much track time. It’s probably a good thing, given the repetitive nature of the sport. The big hand of Hollywood is most apparent on the asphalt. The action favours close-ups and fancy editing over longer, more realistic takes. Nonetheless, it’s capably done - these scenes are energetic and neatly framed, and succeed in conveying a sense of exhilaration.
The problem is that between track time and personal lives, there’s not much space for anything else – leading to a few liberties. Relationships are simplified. The female parts are sidelined, and the animosity between Hunt and Lauda feels exaggerated. Their well-documented friendship away from the track is glossed over, emerging at the end almost like an afterthought.
Then there are occasional mistakes - the Nürburgring being nicknamed ‘The Graveyard’ may drive fact-checkers round the bend. But it’s not a documentary, and 'Rush' succeeds in capturing the golden age of F1 racing with all its colour and gleeful irresponsibility.
If you’re after the best and most accurate film about F1 racing, you’re better off with 2010’s 'Senna'. What 'Rush' offers is an effective drama with the right spirit, even if it doesn’t have all the facts. Go on – take it for a spin.
DVD EXTRAS:• Deleted Scenes
• Race For The Chequered Flag: The Making Of 'Rush'
• The Real Story Of 'Rush'
'Rush' is out today on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK. Find more from Ced at @cedyuen.