I had high hopes for this movie going into it. After reading some of my more trusted critic's reviews, claiming that it is Ron Howard's best film and such, I was excited. I think maybe...too excited. I was asking for greatness, and all I saw was good. So....let's do two paragraphs. One for what I liked and what I didn't.
What I liked: this movie requires no knowledge of Formula 1 racing. Far and away the best part of the movie is the part where it does a spectacular job making the world of Formula 1 make sense without obviously holding your hand. Another great thing is the acting. Chris Hemsworth is great as James Hunt, but the man who deserves all the conversation is Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda. He steals the show in this, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if I'm asking for an Oscar nomination for him at the end of the year. He plays a character who's an asshole, to the point that he could've faded into the shadows as the "bad guy". But instead he turns this character into a very likeable person. To the point that I was rooting for him come the final showdown. He puts in an incredibly memorable performance. Additionally, this movie is beautifully shot. The racing scenes were breathtaking, and the crash sequences had me cringing in my seat.
What I disliked: remember the part where I said I was rooting for Lauda at the end? Ya this was the biggest problem. Think of every sports movie you've ever seen. There is an incredibly obvious character or team that you are rooting for. This is completely nonexistent in Rush. About halfway through the movie I realized that I had NO idea who we were supposed to root for. The playboy James Hunt was not the most likable of characters, and Lauda was an asshole but thanks to the brilliance of Bruhl he becomes the most likable character, and given what happens to him you can't help but root for him. But Howard is constrained by what really happened here so....ya. I'm trying not to spoil here even though it's not since the movie is based on real events. My other major complaint is that OLIVIA WILDE IS TOTALLY UNDERUSED IN THIS MOVIE. I mean c'mon guys! She actually was a really interesting character here, playing Hunt's wife. There was an attempted story arc between her and Hunt and the playboy persona Hunt has, and then how Hunt deals with his sexual desires but then oh! Nevermind. They split, Hunt goes back to how he was, and Wilde is delegated to random clips of her watching the final showdown from a TV set. C'mon Hollywood! Olivia Wilde is so talented!!!! And beautiful. She steals the show in everything she's given a chance to do so in. GAH! Hell Jessica Biel gets bigger movies than Wilde. They look so similar but Wilde is 1000000x better when it comes to acting. Why? Ok this has turned into a total Olivia Wilde fanboy rant so I'm going to stop now.
So I think I am going to switch my initial statement. I was expecting perfection, but all I got was greatness. That is probably pretty accurate.
The Critique: a fun, exhilarating sports movie with interesting character development. A very entertaining way to spend 123 minutes of your life.
The Recommendation: There is something here for anyone. Might be one of the better date movies out there right now. Well Don Jon is a thing but if your GF doesn't like porn I would strongly discourage that choice. But again if you're looking to have fun you will definitely find it here.
Where to See It: See this one at the movie theater. The racing sequences are amazing on the big screen.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great