Director Ron Howard excels at movies based on true stories. Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man are some of his best films. Rush is another true story and, under Howard's direction, a compelling film.
Rush tells of the rivalry between two Formula One race car drivers in the 1970s. Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) is a hard living, hard drinking womanizer, but he's a damn fine racer. Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) is a brilliant, by-the-numbers, uptight Austrian. On the surface that sounds like a typical buddy comedy, but this drama works because the characters are complex and we get to see the little details.
The characters of Hunt and Lauda are well-rounded and the performances by the two leads are outstanding, but what suffers onscreen are the women in their lives. Hunt's model wife, Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde), and Lauda's love, Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara), are unfortunately thinly written. And typically with biopics, trying to crush a person's life within a two-hour time frame, its going to be fragmented.
I wasn't familar with the real life events depicted in Rush but I did see the trailer that shows one of the men in a horrible and fiery crash on the track. The events that happen after the wreck, however, are extraordinary and not what one would expect. This is not the cookie-cutter fluff that is Days of Thunder.
The racing scenes are fast, exciting and well-executed, but the real reason they hold our attention is because we are invested in those characters that are in the race cars. Rush is a fairly fascinating examination of these two men and their obsessions as well as their self-destructive tendencies.