Posts Tagged ‘Rush’

‘Rush’ (Ron Howard, 2013)

Ron Howard gets a lot of slack for allegedly being a ‘vanilla’ director, bereft of any particular distinctive style or interest, firing out bland, sanitised studio product at intervals. I’ve always felt this unfair. Many faceless journeymen fulfil that role in the studio system, but to pick on the likeable Howard for crimes against style is to wrongly condemn one of Hollywood’s most reliable, functional filmmakers to the dustbin when he’s proven, time and time again, that his eye for projects is first class.

Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon and now Rush, beyond betraying Howard’s passion for 70s dramatisations, show a razor-sharp instinct for high-stakes character drama, never sacrificing tension or suspense despite our familiarity with the outcomes. These may be formulaic pictures, hitting the requisite emotional beats at the expected moments, but Howard always finds the hook that makes them work. Even when I can see the artifice, it’s impossible to doubt his probity and good intention. There is, at the heart of these films (even the underwhelming Cinderella Man or A Beautiful Mind), a positive, optimistic voice that brings these stories to screen with great performances and impeccable period detail.

Rush, given the relative restraint of Howard’s other work, morphs periodically into a kinetic, aggressively edited and exciting racing film, more in common with vintage Tony Scott than any staid or stodgy biopic. It’s an unexpected and appealing development for Howard, showing the possibility of flair outside his usual comfort zone and boding well for his Dark Tower adaptation, assuming it ever finds financial backing. I can’t pretend to any particular expertise in F1 history, but Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl nail the Hunt/Lauda relationship, bouncing nicely around Peter Morgan’s script and proving equally adept at handling both the nuance of their rivalry and the intensity of the setpieces.

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