Don't rush out to see this one.
Film Review © 2013 by Trip Reynolds
Directed by Ron Howard; Screenplay by Peter Morgan.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth (as a bad-boy Formula 1 racing star), Daniel Brühl (as the consistently stoic and pragmatic, Niki Lauda), Olivia Wilde (as female eye candy for James Hunt); and Alexandra Maria Lara (as female eye candy for Niki Lauda).
In summary, this 123 minute film is less about car racing and more about the "true story" rivalry between to two legendary Formula One drivers, Niki Lauda and James Hunt. We've seen this story before, one guy (Hunt) lives on the edge, takes risks, and goes from being reckless to brooding to overtly ecstatic. Of course, the other guy (Lauda) is pragmatic, measured, and linear in his strategic pursuit of objectives. Unfortunately, instead of actually giving us real insight about Lauda and Hunt, "Rush" offers nothing more than cinematic cliché.
Mixed into this rivalry is an onslaught of film footage of cars racing, mostly shot from a variety of "safe" angles probably because Ron Howard's production team were not permitted to actually drive or modify any of the actual Formula One cars. Plus, there are frequent pedal and brake shots from inside the cars that failed to put me on the edge of my seat. Frankly, given the extremely thin plot that provided very little angst beyond the rivalry to explain what actually made Lauda and Hunt tick, the race footage is unsed mostly to keep us from getting bored for two hours. It didn't work.
In fact, film didn't get interesting until the epilogue of the movie when it converted into a semi-documentary style by showing actual footage of Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The film is not entertaining. You can laugh at the following comment, but watching Elvis Presley in the cheaply produced "Spinout" (1966) was a more worthwhile movie-going experience, and not because "Spinout" is a musical/comedy, but because it's entertaining. Let's not nit-pick (no, let's do), but at least "Spinout" had a catchy theme song sung wonderfully by Elvis, while "Rush" is laden with the pseudo-climatic and highly pedantic music of Hans Zimmer that absolutely no one is going to remember 47 years later.
There are better car race movies, like "Le Mans" (1971) with Steve McQueen, and "Grand Prix" (1966) that won three Academy Awards® with its all-star cast of James Garner, Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Antonio Sabato, Eva Marie Saint, Jessica Walter, and others.
"Rush" is directed capably by Ron Howard, but when compared to his canon of directorial work like "Splash" and "Cocoon" and "Apollo 13" and "A Beautiful Mind," do not "rush" out to see this film. Film should have been trimmed by at least 30 minutes.
Film has a slow, semi-uneventful running length of two-(2) hours and three-(3) minutes.
As expected, special effects and technical aspects were solid, which was necessary given the poorly written script.
Recommendation: Buy/rent/watch "Le Mans" (1971) with Steve McQueen.