Movie Review: Rush (Howard, 2013)

Image Source:

Movie: Rush
Production Companies:
Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media, Working Title Films, Imagine Entertainment, Revolution Films, Egoli Tossell Film

Director: Ron Howard

Producers: Andrew Eaton, Eric Feliner, Brian Oliver, Peter Morgan, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Scriptwriter: Peter Morgan

Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lava, Pierfrancesco Favino

Release Date: September 13th 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 123 minutes

Certificate: 15


Well get ready to feel the rush of adrenaline from this film. Terrible segue aside, Rush is probably one of, if not the best racing films of all time. Well this may change depending on what happens with Michael Mann’s Ferrari film later this year. Anyway, even if you’re not that into F1 or its history, Rush is still an engrossing film thanks mostly to the two leads, Chris Hemsworth’s James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl’s Niki Lauda. Now without further ado, it’s lights out and away we go with my review.


Rush is a historical sports drama which follows the iconic rivalry of James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Bruhl) during the 1970s, but mostly the 1976 season where both men were vying for the title with McLaren and Ferrari respectively. What starts as a gentlemanly rivalry soon spirals out of control as both men suffer personal tragedy with their partners and on track at the Nurburgring (briefly making Niki Lauda the hottest F1 driver ever) The question is who can claim the title and end the rivalry for the other man? Well, if you’ve seen the film or know about F1, you know the answer but still.


Daniel Bruhl’s Performance in Rush

Well, there’s no better place to start than with the performance of one of the leads: Daniel Bruhl. Simply put, he was perfectly cast as the quiet, reserved but intensely charismatic Niki Lauda, which is explained by the fact Lauda essentially trained Bruhl how to act like him. Yep, who would have thought Niki Lauda was such a method actor? Anyway, there’s plenty of highlights from Bruhl’s performance but the peak is probably the Japanese Grand Prix where both men campaigned for the race to be called off, alas for the greed of television rights to keep it on, and the part where Niki stops the car and drives back to the pits.

Here, we see him embrace his wife and not only is it incredibly emotional but it pays off a story beat from earlier in the film where Lauda feared his marriage would give him something to lose from racing. I mean Bruhl’s capacity to both show utter heartbreak yet belief simultaneously shows just how much work Lauda helped him with. Also, the scene where he gets out of the flaming car at the Nurburgring is phenomenal and still so powerful even if you know how the season pans out. Overall, a phenomenal performance worthy of one of F1’s greatest ever drivers.

The Soundtrack in Rush

Now as much as the performances of Hemsworth and Bruhl carry the film, there’s another massive reason Rush is so revered: Hans Zimmer’s score. Not only is his original score powerful as hell but the other songs he curated into the soundtrack like David Bowie’s Fame or The Rocker by Thin Lizzy. But once again to return to the peak of the film at the Japanese Grand Prix and the tracks ‘Mount Fuji’ and ‘For Love’ which play over the emotional footage of Lauda forfeiting the race in order to be with his wife.

Both perfectly capture the sheer emotion and heart and help flesh out the scenes for maximum audience sympathy. Oh, also the song playing over Lauda’s life changing crash at the Nurburgring, ‘Man on Fire’ also goes way too hard in the best possible way. Considering how revered some of Zimmer’s scores are, his score for Rush deserves so much more love from fans of his work.

Chris Hemsworth’s Performance in Rush

And to wrap up the analysis, I’m briefly going to touch on the other lead: Chris Hemsworth’s James Hunt. Firstly, he nails Hunt’s character especially in a poetic end scene where both men meet at a Bologna airfield in a scene where their polar opposite characters are shown. While Lauda suggests to Hunt he should prepare for the 1977 season, Hunt insists he is going to enjoy the high life longer.

This explains Hunt’s character perfectly as Lauda realises Hunt no longer has a need to prove himself to anyone, unlike Lauda’s need to continue to improve. Also, Hemworth does a great job at portraying Hunt’s guilt over winning races while Lauda is forced to stay in hospital recovering from horrible burns. Genuinely, I could go on and on about how perfectly cast both leads are but we’d be here until Max Verstappen wins his 10th world title…….


To summarise Rush, this is a phenomenal film charting the highs and lows of the iconic Hunt vs Lauda rivalry. Not only are the two leads phenomenal but also a fantastic accompanying score and some great directorial work by Ron Howard (although the Grinch is probably still his best work) So, while there are obviously some historical inaccuracies regarding small details with races, they were never going to take away from the greatness of Rush. Now rush to Netflix to watch this classic….

Overall Rating: 8/10

Target Audience: 15+
Content Warning:
Moderate Sex and Nudity, Moderate Violence and Gore, Moderate Profanity, Moderate Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Mild Frightening and Intense Scenes

Recommendation: Yes