The handsome English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) are two highly skilled race car drivers who first develop a fierce rivalry in 1970 at a Formula Three race at the Crystal Palace circuit in England, when both their cars spin out and Hunt eventually wins the race. Hunt is a brash, young Englishman with a tendency to vomit before every race, while the Austrian Lauda is a cool, calculating technical genius who relies on precision. After a falling out with his father, Lauda takes a large bank loan and buys his way into the BRM Formula One team, meeting teammate Clay Regazzoni for the first time. Meanwhile, Hesketh Racing, the fledgling racing team Hunt drives for, enters Formula One as well. Lauda then joins Scuderia Ferrari with Regazzoni and wins his first championship in 1975. Hesketh closes shop after failing to secure a sponsor, but Hunt manages to land a driving position in McLaren after Emerson Fittipaldi leaves the team. During this time, Hunt marries supermodel Suzy Miller, while Lauda develops a relationship with socialite Marlene Knaus. The 1976 Formula One season starts with Lauda dominating the first two races while Hunt struggles to catch up. Hunt wins the Spanish Grand Prix, but is disqualified after a post-race inspection rules that his car is too wide. Struggling to comply with F1 rules, McLaren suffers a series of setbacks on the next few races, and Hunt’s situation is further exacerbated when Suzy is discovered to have a relationship with Richard Burton. Following his divorce, he regains his competitive spirit and his disqualification in Spain is overturned, which reinstates the points he lost and puts him back into championship contention. Meanwhile, Lauda marries Marlene in a private ceremony but begins to have concerns about the effects of his marriage on his racing career. At the German Grand Prix, Lauda urges the F1 committee to cancel the race due to heavy rain on the already notoriously dangerous Nürburgring; the request is vetoed by majority of the racers after Hunt convinces them that Lauda would benefit by having one less race in the season. Both Hunt and Lauda start the race with rain tires, which becomes a costly tactic due to most of the track quickly drying up. They both pit to change tires during the second lap, but halfway through the third lap, a suspension arm in Lauda’s Ferrari breaks, sending the car flying into an embankment before it bursts into flames and is further hit by other cars on the track. After being pulled out of the flaming wreckage, he is airlifted to the hospital with third-degree burns to his head and face and dangerous internal burns to his lungs. For the next six weeks, Lauda is treated for his injuries while he watches his rival dominate the races in his absence. Against his doctor’s orders, he returns behind the wheel of his Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix to finish fourth while Hunt fails to finish the race. Their rivalry comes to a climax at the 1976 season Japanese Grand Prix…

Ron Howard is a competent director, but mostly he takes a cartoony/stereotypical sort of way in his direction and “Rush” is not an exception. The rivalry between Hunt and Lauda and their lives on the F1 circuit feels way too much over the top and almost made up in my book. Yes, Howard has taken creative liberties due to dramatic reasons, but that doesn´t mean a movie should feel so comic like the way “Rush” does. Hemsworth is ok, but Bruhl´s overacting doesn´t convince me at least. It´s an interesting story and I do know a little about the F1 circus back in the 70´s due to Sweden´s own F1 star Ronnie Petersson, who I vividly remember and who also sadly passed away during a race in 1978. “Rush” is well made, nicely shot and nicely edited. It´s a well crafted sports drama with great race sequences. But, Howard didn´t manage to convince me that I was actually looking at a story based from reality. The story simply got lost in a comic framing in high speed. (3 out of 5)

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