The film, Rush, directed by Ron Howard explores the dangers of Formula One racing during the 70’s and how the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda shaped them as drivers. Howard’s carefully chosen cast, coupled with fast editing and a variety of camera shots, makes the film fast and energetic. However, it is slowed down in some parts of the film, which makes it feel like you’re watching a drama.The fast, award-winning editing which is predominantly used in the race scenes, is definitely a major positive of the film. Howard forged the perfect production team when he combined cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (who also was the cinematographer in Slumdog Millionaire) and his regular editors Dan Hanley, Mike Hill and Hans Zimmer, which resulted in the exhilarating excitement and the rush of the cars almost being palpable. The fast editing coupled with the roar of the engines gives the film a thrilling vibe, but also a sense of authenticity. The fast-paced editing was used during the Nürburgring scene to highlight the dangers of Formula One racing but in an electrifying way – which made it more enjoyable. However, in between the races, the slow development in the scenes made the film feel like a rollercoaster – one minute you’re thrilled; another you’re bored. The scene where Suzy comes to meet Hunt is one of the many scenes where Howard slows the pace of the film. It makes it feel like you’re watching a drama film instead of an exhilarating biopic because of the large contrast between the thrilling races and the romantic scenes.
Rush’s unique cinematography was also another highlight of the film. The repeated use of reactions shots and wide-angle shots adds drama to the film so that it doesn’t feel like a documentary but not enough so that it feels like you’re watching a daily soap such as Shortland Street. Mantle’s striking choice of the colors used in the film also gave the film a sense of authenticity. From the beginning of the film, we are instantly hit with dull colors but as the film progressed, the colors became more vibrant and even saturated in some scenes such as the Brazil race scene. Then once again, the audience is hit with a wall of dark and ominous colors, but this time it’s worse: there’s lightning, heavy rain and a black spider (a German superstition for being unlucky). Instantly, the audience knows that something bad is going to happen during the race but not exactly when it’s going to happen. The intensity created made the film even more thrilling to watch – even making my heart race faster!
I felt that the slight changes made to some of the scenes made the film slightly more interesting and dramatic, but less authentic. When the drivers voted on whether to cancel the Nürburgring race, the film showed that a large majority voted against cancelling the race but in reality, the decision came down to just one vote. I wasn’t sure why the changes were needed as they could have easily made the scene more interesting and dramatic. However, the changes were overpowered by Brühl and Hemsworth’s superb performance. Both actors did a great job at displaying their character’s personality but Bruhl’s performance really stood out as it was so similar to the real Lauda. Brühl’s performance was really good. For the average person, the slight changes aren’t going to make a difference, but the diehard F1 petrol heads might disagree.
I also felt that the relationship between Hunt and Suzy was portrayed properly, mainly because she wasn’t in the film for long. All the major relationships serve a purpose in the film except the relationship between Suzy and Hunt as she does not change his character in anyway. She appears in a few scenes and then disappears, only appearing an hour later – right at the end – where she’s watching the final race on a TV. On the other hand, Lauda’s relationship with Marlene acts as a turning point in his life and actually changes his character, instead of just emphasizing the traits of the characters that the audience already knows. Howard could’ve easily added her in to a few scenes, to make their short-term relationship feel a bit more genuine.
In conclusion, Howard’s Rush strikingly explores how the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt shaped them as fierce drivers during the 70’s. It takes a skilled director to base a film around real life events that happened so long ago that it is no longer in the public’s consciousness. Howard once again has managed to do this perfectly by finding the balance between drama and facts. The fast-paced editing with a touch of drama creates a unique and exciting experience for the viewer, even though Rush alter some event to fit the characters. Overall, the film does a striking job at taking you back in time – to the action-packed 70’s Formula One season.