Rush (★★★½)

rush_ver12There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Academy Award winning director Ron Howard’s newest venture into the world of Formula One racing starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.  It’s safe to report that “Rush” from Universal Pictures is a thrill ride that will leave you entertained from moment one.  Telling the dual stories of rival racers Niki Lauda (Brühl) and James Hunt (Hemsworth), two polar opposite personalities and their appreciations for the sport are placed in the forefront by screenwriter Peter Morgan.

Off the bat, one of the greatest takeaways from the picture is how confident Ron Howard has become as a director.  He handles this sport and story with perfect execution, knowing exactly how he wanted to tell the story.   He’s never been as stylistically profound as he’s been in this film.  It’s his best outing since “Cinderella Man” – a film I found massively underrated in its awards year.

The technical team assembled debuts some of their finest works in years.  From the first frame, you immediately recognize the power and execution of the Sound team.  Polarizing, loud, and engaging, nothing makes the film sing more than aural elements put together.  DP and Oscar-winner Anthony Dod Mantle has finally found the right vehicle that not only showcases his unique style but takes liberties and chances that pay off in a big way.  It’s not easy filming a racing movie, in what feels like 48 frames per second, and have the audience catch everything you’re doing along the way.

Hans Zimmer is on a roll.  After infusing his own style into Superman earlier this year with “Man of Steel” and added tender qualities into the arsenal of “12 Years a Slave,” his work in “Rush” is just as impressive and awards worthy for a Original Score mention.  Film Editors Mike Hill and Dan P. Hanley cut the film brilliantly.  There’s a consistent pace that keeps you at the edge of your seat.  The editing duo have delivered time and time again in works like “Frost/Nixon” and their Oscar-winning works in “Apollo 13.”  This stands firmly next to those films.

Rush_ImagesWhat helps the film move along are the impressive turns by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl.  Two outstanding actors that haven’t been given their chance yet to show what their made of in the film world, nail each of their characters beats and motivations that are completely lively.  Hemsworth, who has been quite successful in the “Thor” franchises and even dipped into the horror genre in “The Cabin in the Woods,” has all the goods as a leading man.  Fascinating and layered deep with a silence under the glitz and glamour, James Hunt was a lonely person.  Hemsworth illustrates all of it with a light sensitivity and a charismatic nature.

Brühl fully understands the mechanics and precise ways of Niki Lauda.  The co-leading man is just as charismatic, even when he’s unlikable, the character actor who has starred in “Inglourious Basterds” and “The Fifth Estate,” displays his abilities when given the opportunity to do so in his own film.  Motivating and awkward, Brühl gets what Niki is all about.  It’s a remarkable turn from the Spanish-German actor.

Two things happened when the credits started rolling.  The first was I got in my car, which is an automatic Toyota Yaris, and attempted to down shift like a race car driver.  “Rush” does for Racing what “Rocky” did for Boxing.  The second was a burned scene in my brain of a lonely James and an apprehensive Niki speaking by an airplane about what they did for each other.  A scene that stands as one of the best of the year so far.  Where Morgan falters in the middle with weird character rhythms and missed opportunities for a stronger foundation into their lives, he nails some instrumental scenes that makes the film succeed.  “Rush” is technically profound.

Rush” opens in theaters September 27.