The Car in Motion: Racing Films, Part III – Rush (2013)

April 19, 2014 | By

Rush2013_BrPerhaps the biggest surprise of Rush (2013) is how well it works as a beautifully crafted drama. Sometimes Ron Howard’s face-smacking directorial approach works – without the music and close-ups, Apollo 13 (1995) is still powerful for its intense story of stranded astronauts – but there’s an old fashioned sentimentality which permeates Howard’s canon (yes, he really has a canon), including the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind (2001) and the pompous soap opera Backdraft (1991), which is frankly grating.

Howard is adept in balancing expressive action and drama, and perhaps due to his emphasis on using characters to grab audiences, Rush never becomes an attention-deficit thrill-ride that fades from memory after leaving the cinema (or snapping off he TV). It’s also a major asset to have a story about two rival Formula 1 drivers whose contempt and nastiness eventually matures to respect. The edginess between Niki Lauda and James Hunt never subsides, but the horrific crash that almost kills Lauda changes their dynamics, and Lauda’s recovery and return to racing is perhaps the film’s most emotionally grueling material.

Universal’s Blu-ray is loaded with extras, but I’ll cover them in a revised review that’ll be tied to Paul Crowder’s lauded documentary 1 (2013), also available on Blu.

Coming next: a podcast with composer Jeff Toyne (Rogue, The Privileged), and soundtrack reviews.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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