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Rush

Cast: Daniel Bruhl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde
Director: Ron Howard

If you're one of the car enthusiasts living in Asia, you must know of the Formula 1 weekend that's currently happening in the lovely country of Singapore. In lieu of that, it seems fitting that I do a review about racing. I don't know anything about the world of racing, and watched the film because of Chris Hemsworth (I'm guessing it's an attempt to draw wider audiences in, like me). The only things I know about racing are basically fast cars and badass drivers, and it what Rush is about. Rush takes us to the world of racing, particularly through the eyes of two racers, James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Rush chronicles the lives of Lauda and Hunt, from when they met in the track, until Hunt's win at the Grand Prix, earning him the title of world champion. It's somewhat biographical, seen mostly in the eyes of Lauda, although Hunt puts his two cents in once in a while. It shows the opposite lives of two fantastic race car drivers: Hunt, the debonair, and Lauda, the perfectionist. Hunt was in it for the fun, the ladies and the rush one gets when being in charge with his life. Lauda, on the other hand, was a play-by-the-books kind of racer. He knows his cars, he knows his capabilities, and knows his limitations. The story goes back and forth between the racers, looking at their personal lives as well as they professional lives when they first started in Formula 1, culminating in Hunt's win. 

As biographical movies go, I don't know how much is real and how much is made to make the movie sell. It certainly had the underdog theme between the two racers down pat, as both Lauda and Hunt were given moments to shine onscreen. They certainly had different lifestyles, but as the movie progressed, there was a hint of a personal friendship between the two, so it wasn't all just rivalry. Their disagreements were just really in their professional lives, but behind that, the two sort of respected each other. It did focus on the world of racing, and how much work and effort they put to win their respective races. Of course it also gave a view of what could happen in the track, and how everything can change in mere seconds. Racing wasn't safe, and there was more things to be calculated than having the fastest horsepower or the lightest car. Even wheel decisions can cost the racer his position. 

I thought that Niki Lauda and James Hunt were played well, although I've read arguments about Hemsworth's casting. While it doesn't boast much of Hemsworth's acting, he's captured the essence of Hunt's charisma with his screen presence. The first scene alone already starts to encapsulate the magnetism Hunt has. He does need a bit of work with his accent, as he wasn't sounding British, and at times starting to sound like Thor. Daniel Bruhl was good though, as his character was more of a challenge to play. He was a person who was able to separate his personal life from his professional one, and he clearly had more emotion to convey. Bruhl played Lauda to be disliked, but at the end you can't help but root for him. When he exposed another side of him, you can't help but feel that Lauda is certainly different from what his professional life portray him to be. 

It doesn't encompass further thinking, but just really shows the ropes around the racing world. Besides the car, there's pleasing sponsorship, and actual training. Then there are the accidents, and scandals to be dealt with, both on the track and in their personal lives. The movie was visually stunning, definitely transporting its viewers to the world where racing was somewhat at its peak, during the 1970's. The set looked fantastic, with the track and the cars. The races were well shot, using different angles to show the viewers the different sides of the track, from the racer, a passerby and to the crew involved. Despite not being into racing, the sequences definitely captured my attention as cars zoomed out one after the other, perpetrating races brilliantly one after the other. The make-up team was good, particularly making Bruhl look like Lauda after the accident. Uncanny resemblance! 

Howard was able to encompass the racing world as a whole, even if he just focused primarily on the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda. It was able to tackle the basics on becoming a professional racer, and what kind of discipline and talent it entails. The movie's timeline was focused on the height of Hunt, because he became the face of race car drivers due to his reputation, though the production leaned more about Lauda rather than Hunt. That was the off-part for me, that the narrative parts kept switching from one racer to another, like they're telling their story together. 

As I've mentioned, I don't know to what extent is real or not, but Howard was able to deliver a biographical film that becomes captivating, and says a lot about the profession. While it goes off to a slow start, it definitely picks up at the latter half, as we get to divulge more into the height of Hunt's career, and see a different, softer side to Lauda. Both men played their roles unexpectedly well, and it gives a kind of closure as how they really were outside the track. 

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