Saturday, November 9, 2013

Movie Recommendation: Rush

You know when you see a good movie and you can't stop raving about it to all and sundry? Well, that is how I feel about Rush. I'm bummed that my review for this movie is coming in at the eleventh-hour. This biographical movie based on real events that took place in the lives of two Formula 1 drivers during the early to mid-70's was released in theaters in September of this year. We managed to catch a screening just as it was getting ready to leave theaters in Singapore and boy! am I chuffed we did :)

I cannot call myself a Formula 1 enthusiast although I do recognize the names of the drivers, teams, circuits and I am roughly aware of the goings on during any particular season. My hubby is one of the biggest fans of the sport I know so thanks to him, I am familiar with most things F1, albeit fairly perfunctory. Having watched the Malaysian and Singapore Grand Prix live at the circuit, I have a fair understanding of what the hysteria is all about! So, it came as absolutely no surprise when I was summoned to go watch a movie that was based on the sport. Sometimes real life events are far more fascinating than fiction and experiencing it through the medium of cinema can be unexpectedly powerful.

***Plot Summary***

The movie chronicles the careers and personal lives of Austrian driver Niki Lauda and British driver James Hunt in the 70s as they move up the ranks from Formula 3 to Formula 1 racing and end up as fierce rivals on the circuit, competing for the coveted championship. Their competition is at its peak at the time of reigning champion Niki Lauda's near-fatal crash in 1976 in the German Grand Prix which leaves him battling for his life. Permanently disfigured and still recuperating, he bounces back from the brink of death just weeks after his horrifying ordeal to defend his title as champion. This ignites a fire in Hunt like never before and he pulls out all the stops to thwart his rival's attempts. The stark contrast in their personalities compounded with their massive egos, passion for the sport, legendary rivalry, unlikely friendship and mutual respect translates on-screen into a riveting movie that is both poignant and awe-inspiring.

Ron Howard, director of acclaimed movies Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind proves that with this movie he is academy award winning material. He takes pole position with this one! The casting is brilliant, the cinematography and photography is breathtaking and the use of actual F1 footage is genius. The movie juxtaposes the two main protagonists in a way that makes their personal entanglements intriguing while the accident and its aftermath spearheads the emotional facet of the story. The story moves on seamlessly at break-neck speed. The adrenaline-fueled racing scenes are exhilarating and makes you wish they wouldn't end. Sitting in the theater, you could hear collective audible gasps from the audience every once in a while and become astutely aware of movie-goers tightly clutching their armrests in trepidation (myself included!). Daniel Brühl as the austere, ambitious and determined Niki Lauda pitches in an outstanding performance. His character requires considerable restraint and subtle mannerisms. His accent and body language is quite convincing. In my opinion, Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt is the star of the show! He is charming but at the same time volatile and unpredictable. He makes the reckless, debaucherous, glamorous playboy seem genuinely likable despite all his vices. And that he is eye-candy only makes it better! The supporting cast including Olivia Wilde (Suzy Miller) and Alexandra Maria Lara (Marlene Lauda) have essayed their parts well although they don't have much to do. My only comment is that after background reading, I understand that Lauda and Hunt used to go out on the town together and shared some camaraderie but that aspect of their dynamic has been completely brushed aside. But having said that, in all honesty, taking some cinematic liberties has only made the movie more intense and interesting.

Here is what Niki Lauda had to say on the movie: 
"When I saw it the first time I was impressed. There was no Hollywood changes or things changed a little bit Hollywood-like. It is very accurate. And this really surprised me very positively." 

Photo source: Hulton Getty, The Telegraph

In conclusion, this is a movie that showcases passion, emotion, drama, thrills and entertainment. Coupled with a strong-storyline and phenomenal performances, this one is a winner all the way!

Rush is undoubtedly one of the best English movies I have seen in a long time. This Clash of the Titans is not to be missed. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who appreciates good cinema. Trust me when I say that you don't have to be an F1 junkie to enjoy it :)

My rating for this movie is 4.5 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. The first thing that came to my mind was "ooh Chris hemsworth !" :D he is a brilliant actor. Good review Megha. Gotta check it out.


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