Monday 7 October 2013


(Ron Howard, 2013)

Peter Morgan's screenplay for Rush is painfully, unbelievably obvious. It starts with a dual voiceover from lead characters Nicki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and Peter Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), both of them attempting to define what makes a Formula One driver tick in the way only somebody announcing a bad movie voiceover ever would. Then, tired of having his leads actually tell us who they are, he puts them in dramatic scenes and has them basically tell everyone else what they are thinking. But that's alright, because everyone else is telling them what they're thinking back; this is how coversations work in Peter Morgan-world. When all this gets a little too subtle for the audience, he wheels the voiceovers back in to explain it all over again.
Hunt and Lauda were rivals and opposites in late '70s F1. Hunt the beautiful, reckless playboy, Lauda the driven perfectionist - in real life they were close friends (they  even shared a flat) but Rush reduces them to co-dependent enemies, defining themselves against one another.
Leads Brühl and Hemsworth almost salvage Rush. They are basically playing two different types of asshole, but they make these men sympathetic and human, despite the on-the-nose script (which reaches a nadir during their first extended conversation, where they basically lay out their conflicting philosophies for each other) and Howard's direction, which tries far too hard and adopts far too many modern approaches in order to make the numbingly repetitive races more visually interesting.
Anthony Dod Mantle, a cinematographer of exceptional talent, falls prey to the cheap trick of using filters to portray period (the '70s are a bit yellow, a bit flat in their lighting) while Howard loves montages to portray Hunt's endless shagatons and Lauda's obsessive need to get everything right.
It's never quite boring, no. There are a few fine sequences, and some gripping race action.
But it never quite feels like it has much of a point, either.

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