Rush written by Peter Morgan, directed by Ron Howard (Exclusive Media Group, Cross Creek Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, R, 123 min)

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brūhl, Olivia Wilde, and Alexandra Maria Lara.

A Good Sports Film Is Hard to Find

A quality sports movie is hard to find. Sporting events, in fact, seem to be the only thing in the world that’s rating-proof. Each game has a sense of drama. The viewers don’t know the result and the potential narratives seem endless. These facts could contribute to the difficulty of creating that iconic sports movie. Scripting a story—whether fact or fiction—feels false compared to the narratives we all can watch on a daily basis. Actually, I would argue this reality functions as the foundation for the popularity of the sports documentary. 30 for 30 is a thing because real life in the sporting world is stranger than fiction.

For this reason, I find Rush lacking, despite its critical acclaim.

Driving Feud

Rush tells the story of the blood feud between Formula 1 drivers, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brūhl).

The drivers possess diametrically opposed styles. Hunt is a dashing lad of British descent. Immensely talented behind the wheel, driving is but an instrument for the worldly pleasures he requires. Yes, Hunt wants to win. But he pursues excellence for the prestige and women it produces.

Lauda, on the other hand, offers a methodical and analytical personality. Coming from money, Lauda drives for passion. He doesn’t spend much time fraternizing and his looks leave much to be desired. So he focuses on the drive. How can he be the fastest human being alive?

The meeting of opposites drives the rivalry and the movie.

The narrative comes together with the 1976 Formula 1 season with Lauda driving for Ferrari and Hunt for McLaren. The two fastest drivers by far, Hunt and Lauda trade blow for blow before a devastating crash leaves Lauda’s season in the air.

With the danger of the sport so prevalent, the risk involved with beating the opposition runs right up against the limits of life.

Crash and Burn

Despite some beautiful cinematography, Rush falls flat. The writing is horrendous, the acting questionable. I can’t tell why this movie had Oscar buzz. If I look hard enough, I can see a quality idea. But the execution is non-existent.

In truth, Rush struggles because it tries to script that which doesn’t need a script. In comparison to Senna, a documentary pulling real footage, Rush feels campy. Therefore, I find it difficult to recommend.

Verdict: 2 out of 5

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