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Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Sep 2013   |  4:10 pm GMT  |  127 comments

The latest F1 movie to hit the screens is “Rush”, the story of the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, set during the dramatic 1976 season in which Lauda almost lost his life.

The film charts the build up to Lauda’s accident at the Nurburgring and his subsequent recovery.

Here is our review of the film, together with some behind the scenes video with interviews of Niki Lauda, Jenson Button, Christian Horner, David Coulthard and the stars of the film, from the London premiere.

The first thing to say about “Rush” is that the people in it are terrific. Sport is all about personalities and rivalries and the central acting performances in the film; Daniel Bruhl as Lauda and Chris Hemsworth as Hunt are fantastic.

As the film goes on you forget you are watching an actor when you look at Bruhl. In the second half of the film in particular he “becomes” Lauda and his accent is perfect. He also imbues a seemingly cold and unlikeable character with pathos, which is quite a feat.

Knowing Lauda and having known Hunt I can honestly say that the performances are well judged and the dialogue is largely fitting. Hunt is more superficially covered, but the spirit is definitely there and the determination, which always had an underlying aggressiveness.

Some of the cameo roles are a bit cliched, but overall the film is well played.

The central conceit of the film is that the rivalry between Hunt and Lauda was so all consuming that it almost killed Lauda, as he pushed himself beyond the limit to beat the Englishman. But by an ingenious twist, it is also the same rivalrly that saves his life as he battles in hospital to recover (having been given the Last Rites by a priest) because he so badly wants to get back out there and beat Hunt again.

This storyline, from scriptwriter Peter Morgan, works well around this pivot and is coherent. He overplays the dislike between Hunt and Lauda – there are far too many photos of them smiling together in any F1 archive to stand that portrayal up. But this is a dramatisation and it’s okay to have some licence, I suppose.

The dialogue isn’t memorable – no-one will be quoting any lines from the movie down the pub, as they would with Balestre’s monstrous, “The best decision is MY decision” in “Senna”.

There are some fairly graphic moments as Lauda’s lungs are hoovered of fluid, which I watched through my fingers!

On the whole this review is positive save for a few small things:

The film is set in the mid 1970s and has a really nice ’70s look and feel to it. So it’s unfortunate that the Computer Generated Images (CGI) used to create excitement in the track action sequences, wrench you out of the 1970s and into the 21st century. There’s not much Howard could do to avoid this, in fairness, and CGI is the most effective way of having two 1970s F1 cars bang wheels and skid off the track. But it means you come out of the 1970s bubble from time to time.

“Senna” avoided this by being sequential from 1984 to 1994 and never coming out of the contemporary look and feel of the footage.

My biggest criticism of the film, however, is that they rely far too heavily on the clunky mechanism of having reporters and commentators spell out the situation going into the various races in the film. It is always better if the plot and storyline can be moved along by the characters themselves, rather than have some TV reporter pop up suddenly, saying “So the situation going into the Italian Grand Prix is this: James Hunt trails in the points by…” and so on.

It wouldn’t be a problem if it happened occasionally, as in the 1966 film “Grand Prix”, but it happens all the time and the film seems to clunk along from one example to another.

In this day and age there has to be a better way to disclose information to the audience than with recitals from reporters and commentators. It’s like an F1 car, missing a gear every few corners – it spoils the flow.

But these small criticisms apart, it’s a good film – not a great film – which will be of interest to anyone who is well inclined towards motorsport. There is plenty of racing action, good plot and outstanding acting.

Will “Rush” succeed? All the signs are that it will. It comes a suitable time after “Senna”, which reminded mainstream audiences about F1 and made it seem visceral and exciting. “Rush” continues that trend and leaves scope for further motor sport movies in the future.

As the movie business changes, and the delivery mechanisms for the content evolve via internet, Netflix and so on, there is a lot of scope for marrying the right movie content to an established niche audience whist achieving mainstream crossover via the cinemas. If F1 films make sense financially to movie houses, they will continue to back projects.

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127 Comments
  1. Dino says:

    Dear James,

    I’m a bit concerned about the CGI images. Since the announcement of the film, the first thought I got was if real track action would be done and which of the current F1 drivers would be involved in the action, a la Grand Prix or Le Mans films.
    As you said, that’s good but not great.

    TYVM for your interesting insight.

    Dino

    1. Quercus says:

      I agree completely about modern physics-defying CGI. In their attempts to ‘sex it up’ the animators/editor always seem to speed things up, complete with multiple fast cuts so one can’t follow the flow properly, and in the process lose the slightly slow-motion horror of seeing a real accident play out in front of one’s eyes. The option of recreating the accidents with replica cars I’m sure is prohibitively expensive — or is it that the relative cheapness of CGI now makes it not worth the expense in the eyes of the producers? It’s a shame because it completely loses credibility the moment the CGI begins.

      I also agree with James about the clunky reporter springing talking to camera to fill in the details. In actual fact it would be a lot more subtle to make the audience work harder by just dropping the necessary tension-building information in during dialogue between the actors.

  2. Sebee says:

    People, go see it and enjoy it! Sure, we’re going to be a bit picky about details. My personal peeve was that the reason for Niki’s vision issues is not explained as well as it could have been – you know, damaged eyelids, tear ducts from the burns he suffered. It would have required very little screen time. I didn’t mind the CGI as it is quality. I saw a 4K projection too, and it was crips and fun.

    I like to think this movie will be enjoyed by F1 fans, and more importantly for a 122minute movie that does move along nicely, it will keep non F1 followers entertained too. Take the wife!

    And remember boys and girls, smoking does not make you faster. :-)

    1. Wayne says:

      I’ll second the sentiment entirely, all us F1 fans should go out and support this movie.

      JA the film critic! Good job!

    2. Take the wife? That’s making assumptions, don’t you think?

      I’m a female F1 fan who has been responsible for getting my husband interested in the sport, rather than the other way round.

      Still, good to know that he will not be bored when I insist we see the film… :-)

      1. Anne says:

        Lucky you! I can´t get my (in)significant other away from football
        :(

        But I have my uncle. He is the one who made our family all die hard F1 fans

        :)

      2. Ding wamage says:

        + 1, except I’ve never managed to get my husband interested in the sport. He calls F1 ‘soap opera for men and my wife’. Yes, I should probably divorce him – this film might give me a chance to hook up with a sensible man at the cinema ;)

      3. Sebee says:

        Didn’t mean to offend. I’m glad you’re getting the husband into shape, F1 wise. Simple truth is, majority of fans are male, as the non scientific sample of audience in the movie theater will show you. Here goes…;-)

        Ladies, get those husbands to the movie. It will help you sell F1 to these misguided creatures not yet following F1. Remind them you follow F1. Also remind them the golden rule of marriage is Happy Wife, Happy Life!

      4. Heh, Sebee!

        I’m looking forward to seeing the film tomorrow. The cinema told me I was the only person to have booked for that screening, so far…

      5. gudien says:

        Thank you ladies for your insight into what is a great sport.

      6. Sebee says:

        …and? Did you like it or did you love it?

      7. It was fantastic, except for the scene where James beat up a journalist – too graphic and unnecessary for my liking, particularly as what I’ve read suggests it was untrue. I’m fine with reality being portrayed and our heroes being fallible, but I think that was a step too far and only done to show that James silently supported Niki.

        I liked the way that, although the accidents were staged via CGI, the old footage was shown on a TV, so you could see what truly happened (although in many cases it was horrible…).

        It didn’t move me as much as Senna… again, I knew how it would end, but I was expecting to be more moved by the “and at the end of this epic saga, he died too soon” aspect.

        I thought including Niki (modern day) in it was a nice touch; it showed anyone who didn’t already know that he endorsed the film, and that made it more satisfying in a way.

        What a shame that only 20 people were in the cinema when I saw it, at 6pm on the weekend of its release. I hope the film is successful.

      8. Ding wamage says:

        I liked it too, but also noticed that there weren’t many people in the cinema. I went in the daytime though, which might explains why there were only 12 people there. On a positive side, I was the only woman in the audience! Had I not taken my son with me, I would have had a great chatting up opportunity with a bunch of normal men :)

        Also loved the adverts, I’ve never seen such a collection of completely male-oriented adverts before any film.

      9. Sebee says:

        Yeah, that was a bit harsh. But that was done for the satisfaction of the audience. That question was actually asked of Niki, and I’m sure more than one person wanted to knock that guy’s teeth in. He deserved it, even if only fictionally.

        Too bad about what you’re reporting on the attendance. Shame really. Hopefully it’s not reflective of a wider trend.

    3. Daniel MA says:

      Can’t wait to see it myself, probably the second or third movie of the year I’m really interested in.
      4K??? pfff, I’ll watch it in 35mm and enjoy it while I still can. For digital projection I may as well watch it at home.

  3. Sebee says:

    Funny, I thought of Lewis. It was the most recent WDC win by 1 point.

    Although a Toyota slowing down is not as dramatic as Niki pulling out and giving up on the big prize he came back to fight for from near death in the first place. :-)

    1. Phil J says:

      Doh!

      You’ve given away the ending now!

      1. Sebee says:

        Oh snap!

        I thought we were all experts here and could name F1 champions and points results the way every American boy and girl knows every US President!

        James, this is true…could you delete or mod my comment please? Don’t want to spoil the story for those who don’t know.

      2. Ronnie says:

        No, sadly, NOT every American boy and girl knows every US president. Some don’t even know the very last president. And I wouldn’t be shocked if someone turns out not sure of the current one.

      3. Tara says:

        I think most people on this forum would remember or at least have visited wiki when the first trailers were released.
        I think your safe! :)

  4. Valentino from montreal says:

    My friend and I went to the movies a couple of weeks ago and they showed the trailer for “Rush – a Ron Howard film”
    … When they trailer ended we just looked at each other and we said to ourselves ” Lauda , who cares about Lauda ? They should make a movie on the Schumacher- Hakkinen rivalry !! ”

    Now that’s a movie I would be willing to spend money on !

    1. Pete says:

      Senna-prost?

      1. Sebee says:

        That movie already happened. It’s called “Senna”. I can’t see how a movie remake can make it better than the actual footage and events.

        That’s always the problem with sports movies based on real stories. The real story is usually so unbelievable, the movie only tames it. Great sports stories are like that, better than any fiction you can come up with.

        I mean, think about it. 2008. It rains with laps to go. Toyota slows down, Massa is WDC, but Lewis is catching the Toyota, Massa’s father is jumping, “You did it Fillipe!” Ahh..not quite, Lewis P5, WDC. If that didn’t actually happen for real, and you saw that in a movie you would say…”What a bunch of made up crap these Hollywood guys came up with here. At least the popcorn was good.”

      2. WellBalanced says:

        Agreed

      3. Bollo says:

        Yes it would be a far more high profile rivalry than this one. Maybe they couldnt get the rights.

        Also Bond films manage without stupid bloody CGI…

      4. Tim says:

        Die Another Day has quite a lot of CGI, in fact it was criticised for it’s over use.
        So far as Rush is concerned, the film is great – go and see it.

      5. Bollo says:

        Yup. I stand corrected on the CGI.

    2. Sebee says:

      Makes sense, let’s have a movie about the time Schumi won a GP on 4 stops. Or the time he British GP in the pit lane. :-)

      I like Schumacher as much as you. Mika too. But what possible story line do you see in that time period that could captivate a non-F1 audience?

      You need a story that transends sport. You need a man who is willing to accept 20% risk of death when he goes to work. Fights to come back to the thing that nearly killed him even before he had a chance to recover.

      1. F1 Badger says:

        Great point about the need to transcend sport. A ‘human’ story captivates people. I know very little about Baseball or American Football but really enjoyed the films ‘Moneyball’ and ‘The Blind Side’ (I understand not everyone else will) for the very reason they were human stories.

      2. Valentino from montreal says:

        Hi Sebee ! All u need to do is use your imagination …

        If I was a Hollywood movie producer and wanted to make a movie on Michael Schumacher , the script would go like this , Titled : ” Driven from Within ”

        It would start off with the famous 1990 Macau clash of Schumacher and Hakkinen , giving the audience right away the notion that controversy has always followed Schumacher from early on …

        Then , the movie would rewind back to Schumacher’s humble childhoood when his family had very little money ..

        The movie would show how Senna from early on would try to intimidate Schumacher on and off the race track …

        There would be a scene of when Ron Dennis tried to lure Schumacher to McLaren at a 1993 fashion show with Willi Weber looming in the background …

        Then some content of the Hill rivalry years … When Damon Hill was receiving death threats because Germans misunderstood the word ” Clone” and thought Hill called MSC a ” Clown ” …

        Then the movie would focus on the move to Ferrari in 1996… How Schumacher defended Todt in 1996 from being fired with these famous words : ” If you want to destroy Ferrari , this is how to do it ” …

        Throw in a little bit of Villeneuve Jerez 97 in the movie to give a bit more drama …

        Then the McLaren- Hakkinen years follow suit …

        Schumacher’s in-talks with McLaren in summer 1998, his collision with Coulthard in SPA , his engine stalling on the grid at Suzuka 1998 ….

        The movie would finish off at Suzuka 2000 Japanese GP!

        You would see Hakkinen’s and Michael’s legendary press conference of that week-end when Mika says :

        ” wherever Michael brakes , I will brake 3 meters later ”

        And Schumacher replies ” if he brakes 3 meters later , I will brake 5 meters later ! ”

        The movie ends with Schumacher clinching the title in Suzuka beating Hakkinen … The dream has come true …

        ……

        Now THAT’S a must-see movie if you ask me !

      3. Sebee says:

        Truly fantastic! Straight to “VHS” however, after complete failure at the box office, grossing $273, 862 on 1024 screens from the amazing weekend in Germany mainly.

        Some girls will be fooled and will tell their boyfriend, “Take me to see that movie about the Shoe Maker. I want to know all there is about Shoe-ey.”

        You seem passionate. Why don’t you put your idea on Kick Starter? :-)

      4. gpfan says:

        Well, “Valentino From Montreal”, I think maybe your name explains it all. ‘Schumi v. Hak.’?

        As someone who closely followed ’76 (and many years before and since), I can tell you that precious few compared with the drama unfolded that season.

        ‘Andy from Toronto’.

      5. Jordan says:

        What about the years 2005, 2006 against Alonso. Then again in 2010 – 2012 with Mercedes?

      6. Tim says:

        @ Sebee.
        You seem passionate…..

        Passionate is one word for it, obsessed is another ;-)

      7. Crom says:

        If James were to update his “Edge of Greatness” (any news on that front?) that might then be a good time to consider a Schumacher biopic movie.

        Michael’s longevity spanned so many eras, not just within F1 but history itself, that it would make a fascinating movie. And being involved in the film industry, I can tell you that a film can be made about anything as long as you have the drama (ie, the right script & characters) and, of course, the all-important financial backing. Senna and Rush may have paved the way. I can see the finance coming out of Germany, but you could say there is still no satisfying ending yet (maybe we have wait for what happens with Vettel and Alonso’s careers).

        I think right now it just feels premature to think of a retrospective movie on Schumacher’s career – we’d probably need another few seasons to see how things pan out with the Vettel relationship, maybe even with the parallel of Ferrari and Alonso – as it seems to me that Michael might see this, and the “future” of the sport, as his legacy, and thus a natural conclusion to a Schumacher film.

      8. James Allen says:

        No plans to do that

    3. Andrew M says:

      You really are something else.

    4. Scuderia McLaren says:

      What about the ultimate battle.

      Gaston Mazzacane vs Marc Gene’ Minardi 2000.

      That is a story worth telling. Epic.

      1. Sebee says:

        Ha! Hope it’s in 3D!

      2. Anne says:

        For that matter, a movie about Grosjean and Maldonado 2012 season would be a lot more “epic”. It´s the Freddy vs Jason of F1

      3. ManOnWheels says:

        The Perry McCarthy story “Flat out, flat broke – Formula 1 the hard way” would make a great film.
        Crashing daddys cars, seeing his friends make the step to Formula 1 before him, one of them dying on the track, working on oil rigs to get the money together for one more season in a lower formula and finally making it to Formula-1, getting ripped off and bullied by the Andrea Team, being sent out on rain tyres ina dry qualifying. And for the grand finale: The team boss getting jailes and he putting on the black suit of the stig.
        That would be no less remarkable, if you asked me.

    5. Quercus says:

      Obviously a youngster who has never felt the tension of watching F1 cars in which the drivers were risking their lives every time they went onto the track. Quite rightly, we’ll never go back to those times but there was something heart-stopping about on-track battles in the 70′s that’s missing now. Like the bonding between soldiers in battle, the bonds between drivers were all the stronger from the shared risk.

      In the Sunday Times reviews of this film, Niki Lauda recalled sitting next to Lewis Hamilton at the preview of ‘Rush’ and Lewis asked Lauda, “was it really like this?” It’s something modern drivers with their wheel-banging antics just don’t appreciate. I guess many viewers today are too young to remember the horror of seeing great drivers like Gilles Villeneuve and Senna actually dying on our screens.

      1. Sebee says:

        20% risk of death…that’s what is missing in F1 now.

        I know it’s careless to say this, but F1 wasn’t P.C. back in the 70s. It was dangerous, rude, in your face. Take the Delorian back to any ’76 GP and tell Niki or James that he has this much fuel for a GP and has to be environmentally conscious and he’d laugh in your face – uncontrollably. I know, I know. But there was something so right about that “incorrectness”.

  5. Laurence H says:

    I’m not sure that comparisons with ‘Senna’ are too relevant as that was a documentary, using actual footage. A completely different type of film-making.
    Can’t wait to see this though!

    1. Ronnie says:

      +1

      I don’t like the Senna movie actually. It has an aching and sad tone throughout as I struggle with the sub-titles.

    2. Richard Trinder says:

      Could not agree more; Senna was a documentary (a fairly skewed one at that); this is pure entertainment albeit based on a true story, much like shall we say Apollo13[another howard flick].

      I can’t wait to see it and be entertained by it, as long as it doesn’t make me cringe any place and it is the story of 2 heroes (as that season was) then i will be happy.

  6. Steve JR says:

    James, I suspect you might be a bit miffed that they didn’t have you play the role of a commentator who spells out the situation for movie goers. What went wrong? Did you fail the audition? Could you not grow your side boards in time for the shooting or was it a problem squeezing into the tight fitting bell bottomed acrylic pants perhaps?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not at all. For once I’m not in favour of reporters!!

      1. Sebee says:

        Oh, how much satisfaction that one bathroom scene must have given you then! :-)

    2. KRB says:

      Side boards?? Sideburns?

      I don’t mind that scene-setting tool …a film I liked as a teen was American Flyers, with Kevin Costner. It’s a cycling movie, and it uses it a lot. Yes it’s a cheap way of moving the story along, but it’s campy, so as a viewer you forgive it.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        I agree. It’s like voice over. Martin Scorcese’s best movies utilize voice over to excellent effect. It makes the viewer feel they are being told a story rather than viewing it from afar.

        I hope there is a Montage to a 70′s soundtrack in the movie as well! :)

      2. KRB says:

        Love Scorsese … great storyteller. Like the scene in Goodfella’s at Tommy’s mom’s house (played by Scorsese’s mom), after they’ve killed Billy Batts. The scene and its dialogue does little to nothing to advance the story, but on the other hand it tells so much about the characters, plus it’s frikkin’ hilarious. Most directors would find some reason to drop that scene in final editing, but I’m sure Scorsese fought for its inclusion.

        This page puts it at 136 voiceover quotes in Goodfella’s:

        http://home.roadrunner.com/~jhartzog/goodfellasvo.html

  7. Michael Prestia says:

    The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). I desperately tried to get tickets but couldn’t. I can’t wait for this movie to be in theater.

    1. Sebee says:

      September 27th. Only 2 weeks away. Now you have something to look forward do.

      Make it an F1 weekend. Quali Saturday AM, Movie Saturday PM, Indian GP Sunday AM.

      Makes wardrobe choice easy that weekend. Ferrari shirt 48 hours straight! :-)

      1. KRB says:

        Indian GP is October dude!

      2. Sebee says:

        Scrolled up saw 27th, didn’t pay attention to October! It was such a good plan, with one little flaw. :-(

  8. I enjoyed when I saw it a couple of weeks ago on a free preview. The cgi sequences are not too bad and the film of real cars does give it authenticity. It was a shame that much of the season was rushed, The Brands Hatch race/crash/restart which was quite important was glossed over – well in fact the whole crash/will he restart thing was missed!

    Well worth seeing though.

  9. Seán Craddock says:

    I just came back from watching this and have to say it exceeded my expectations. While the CGI at times interrupted the feel for the era, I found it wasn’t as obvious CGO as other films. At some points I was wondering what was real or not.

    There were some small details that I could be pernickety about but there’s no point as it’s to be expected.

    Have to agree with you on the actors also James, amazing how they played the characters. Even the man who played Enzo looked like the man himself!

  10. Richard says:

    Well having not yet seen the film it’s difficult, but I suspect that the racing images are somewhat overdone, and while James Hunt was a hugely charismatic figure, Niki Lauda was the best driver by some margin. It is of course entertainment and should be fun to watch, rather than a documentary which attempts accurate portrayal.

  11. Ronnie says:

    I’m glad that Chris Hemsworth did a good job, and got a chance to be more than a piece of very beautiful meat.

    The way they described James Hunt in a US preview special was like someone talking about Kimi :-)

  12. Thread the Needle says:

    Going to see it on Sunday anyway

    They should make a movie about Alonso/Hamilton in 2007, that would be a movie, so much stuff to cover on and off track

    1. James Allen says:

      No-one would believe it – you couldn’t make it up!

      1. gpfan says:

        JA? Some name-dropping here; met Gerry Donaldson once or twice. ;)

        On the way home from Silverstone in ’97, I grabbed Gerry’s recently released bio of James Hunt at the WH Smith at the Manchester airport. Great read. I hope the film matches this. Also own and have repeatedly read ALL of Niki’s books.

        Gravy on the trip? JV won! (Not sure if I prefer a Scotsman or Canuck ;)). :D

      2. Mike from Colombia says:

        Will you ever write a book or an article about the lesser known aspects of 2007 James?

        Would be very interesting, especially in the current context with Alonso now facing an equal status team mate again next tear.

  13. F1 Badger says:

    James I haven’t seen it but fully intend to. Does Chris Hemsworth wear the ‘Sex, Breakfast of Champions’ patch on his race suit?!?

    1. James Allen says:

      There is a scene where he poses with the model for that famous photo, yes

  14. tim says:

    Ron Howard movies, especially the historical dramas, make me a little nervous. He can play a little fast and loose with the facts. I hope he surprises me this time.

  15. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

    I remember when the south africa police confiscate Hunt’s penthouse magazine. I was 17.
    Hunt was my hero. The time pass very, very, very fast…..

  16. Joseph Becker says:

    I have a hard time watching modern movies, I understand most of what goes into cgi, and am thus never impressed by it.

    From what I have seen the “action” scenes have immense ocular failures. Better than many movies, but without paying much attention, the shadows are poor, many skewed perspectives and massively incorrect composition. Heat effects, exhaust flares and speed racer moving backgrounds is about as horrible as it gets. And the crayola fire is poor. Par for a modern big budget “film”.

    Don’t even get me started on the digital color correction in the movie. Or the fake rain.

    No chance of anything like the amazing, profound and almost entirely “real” grand prix film. Nope, Ill take my 50 fps 1080p modern f1 any day over a cgi athon.

    1. Rob Andrews says:

      Oh really… Rush had a budget of about $30 million which is chump change by hollywood standards. So do you think they really travelled to Brazil, Spain, Italy, Japan, France (they did go to Germany) and then take down all the modern buildings blah blah to return the tracks to the state they where in?

      Apart from filming on a section of the Nurburgring all racing was done on a few circuits here in Blighty and all the start finish straights where filmed on an old runway in Surrey. Without ‘CGI’ you would have no Rush. The look and what not your so heavy to critique is purely artistic choice by the director. We can make it as real as it gets, 90% the time Joe public doesn’t even notice, even when they think they understand CGI…

      1. Joseph Becker says:

        I would have done it differently. I would have begged borrowed and stolen enough money to go to the tracks remaining instead of resorting to cgi. I would have shot on film stock and all the hassle it involves. I would have digitally removed buildings instead of digitally creating everything. But mostly; I would have used color, I would not have pushed the orange and blue button on Pandora. I would have built models and used matte glass if I had to. Basically I would have made every last detail look like it actually did.

        I would have pared the script to accommodate whatever insane budget I had. I consider 38 million dollars to be a insane amount of money.
        But I agree the public loves transformers and seem to prefer movies that look like video games so the movie is probably going to be a success. I hate movies that look like video games. I love cinema verite. If I had the opportunity to make a movie, and it was plausible to avoid cgi, which to me F1 kinda represents the ultimate REAL ACTUAL THING that is spectacular enough for a live action film, I could not conceivably go down the CGI route.

        But I’m weird I find CGI horrible and offensive. I have experience in video production and I know a fair bit about graphics, like on the level of I have heard John Carmacks quake con presentations for 10+ years. So I am unusually qualified to judge.

  17. Zombie says:

    I’ve always been amazed how few good movies/documentaries have been made on motorsports. For whatever the reason, despite the fanfare motorsports is still not recognized as “real sports” in some quarters.

    I hope someday they make a documentary on the legendary aussie Mick Doohan who made a come back with only one useful leg, and yet won 5 back to back titles on a vicious,swashbuckling Honda NSR 500.

    For motorsport enthusiasts, other then ‘Senna’, ‘Grandprix’, and ‘Le Mans’ i would highly recommend ‘On any given Sunday’ and ‘Faster’ as few other good documentaries. I hope others will add to this list with their recommendations..

  18. Gantsta says:

    Does that McLaren press guy ever stop loitering behind Jenson Button?

  19. M Wishart says:

    **** If you have not seen the film, you might not want to read my post*******

    Seen this film tonight and as an F1 fan it was very disappointing, and not a patch on “Senna”.

    Getting away from the far superior senna documentary, we know the outcome to this film (Rush) and who wins in the end as it is written in history, but unlike the “Apollo 13″ film, (Another of Howard’s films) there is no build up or excitement and you walk out feeling a bit flat.

    Yes it might be a good film for people who dont understand F1 or dont know any of the history, but I dont think this film does James or Niki and favours and I believe it has just painted a very simple picture. There is no greater understanding to these men, it is just two men who could be working in a factory or on a farm. We are shown that Niki can set up a car and seen in a brief scene, and it comes back a few minutes later when he is being driven by a lady in a car, and finally when he first jumps in the car and tells the Ferrari personal that it is a pile of s***, but thats all you get, its not touched on much anywhere else in the film. Surely if he was that good, the film might have shown a bit more of this?

    Moving the story on from race to race and building up the season as a whole, it is far to brief, the footage used for each race is maybe worth a lap or two? I could be wrong with this as I didnt take a stop watch with me I dont know for sure, but going through the season it felt like I was watching a rocky film, just counting down the races, so there was no sense of build up with this also, which is a shame as this could have been used to a better effect.

    Even the points system, it is only in the later part of the film do we see much of who has what points and going into the final race, at least we find out there is 3 point between the two men, but showing a lap or two of the two men racing and then Niki just pulling into the pits, getting out of the car and telling Ferrari to tell the media the truth of why he stopped. It was so short, one minute he is racing the next he is in his motorhome, why couldnt they have built this up more, the decisions he had to make, and why? getting inside his head. I was lead to believe that we where going to get more of an insight into the hardships of what Niki surely went through to even put his helment back on after a few weeks, but once again, the scene was there, we saw it, then the film continued to move on and not wanting to stop and have a look around.

    Sport is exciting, look at the end of 2008, that is what is great about sport, but this film, seems to just want to make a film about fast cars, and even the fast cars are not the major part of this film. I think it was trying to cover to many bases and in the end failed to make anything stand out. Yes we see fast cars and the best part about all that is the fancy shots we get, but not much else. And like James said you do get pulled right out of the film and back to the here and now too often.

    Films are meant to be 2 hours where you become someone or are shown something or are taken on a ride and getting away from life for a breif 2 hours, this film had me puffing and shaking my head and wondering how they would end the film, which became the best part as most films like this we get a final brief view of the real persons, but the built up to this, the last scene of the two men finding peace with each other, didnt work as all the way through the film we are lead on a journey that the two men hated each other and right at the end, we find out its was all ok after all and there wasnt much of a journey after all, and we could go home knowing they had found peace with each other..!! But I honestly think that last few moments, wether it was scripted or taken from something Niki might have said in the past or if he was part of the making of the film, that was the first time you felt the truth was coming out in the film. The very final scene, James has walked away and Niki sat on his own telling you his thoughts about James and the truth came out.

    My suggestion if you go and see this film, dont worry to much about script, plot or characters and just enjoy seeing some F1 action on the big screen as that doesnt happen every year.

    As an F1 fan I give this film 2 stars, as a movie fan I might take the to 2 and a half possible 3, but no way can this be 4 or 5 as I have seen!!!

    1. Sebee says:

      I thought Howard stayed away from “cheesy” machismo a la Top Gun quite nicely actually. It could have gone there. All you needed to know about Lauda was his calculated logical approach (well shown) and the fact that he must have been nuts to fight that hard to get back on track ASAP. But agreed that there was not much over dramatizing, and agreed that it’s not 5/5 stars. But hey, how many F1 movies do you get? As far as they go, and as far as motor sport films, any issue with this one being in the top 5? OK…5th perhaps, but still top 5.

    2. Tim says:

      Completely disagree, I thought the film was great.

      1. Phil says:

        I also disagree.

        There were many moments within the film where you could see Hemsworth’s respect grow for Lauda. Why do you think he beat up the reporter?

        I can’t help it if you can’t see subtlety. Not everything has to have a glowing sign saying “Respect points added!”

        I would agree with you on one point though, there should have been more racing in it and that would allow for a slightly more coherent overview.

        Having said that, the script was written on spec – there was very little money and only Howard’s reputation secured that much. CGI effects and any period film sucks up money like a black hole.

        Personally, I loved it. Motorsport in general and F1 in particular are rarities in film, so I was pleased to see something that didn’t resemble the god-awful Driven.

  20. Roope says:

    Why would you compare a drama film to a documentary? I mean…why?

    This film is a stunning piece, easily the best of the year so far. The racing sequences are breathtaking.

    This film races for Oscars in at least cinematography, editing and possibly even in acting with Brühl’s fantastic performance.

  21. Mark V says:

    “My biggest criticism of the film, however, is that they rely far too heavily on the clunky mechanism of having reporters and commentators spell out the situation going into the various races in the film.”

    Dennis Miller once joked that his role in the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie “The Net” wasn’t as an integral character to the plot but simply to regularly repeat plot points to keep the (naive) audience up to date with what was happening amid the (at the time) hard to understand world of high tech computers and the internet.

  22. Screener says:

    Saw it back in May. Excellent film, go and see it!

  23. Racyboy says:

    I hope it does well and inspires more F1 movies.

    Can’t wait for ‘SEBNADO’

  24. Sebee says:

    My Top 5 Motorsport Movies

    1. LeMans
    1. Grand Prix
    3. Senna
    4. Rush
    5. Truth in 24.

    Honorable mention; Days of Thunder, Talladega Nights. ;-)

  25. Glynn Harrold says:

    Thanks for the review James. I’m going to see this tonight with my wife as a belated birthday treat. I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for a couple of months now. I’m hoping it won’t disappoint.

  26. Matt Devenish says:

    We saw it last night at the Exeter Picturehouse, the staff were dressed in mock Ferrari and McLaren overalls, the stairway and foyer was decked out with chequered flags and they had a superb Rush promo display draped in an Austrian flag and Union Jack. The atmosphere was great!

    I thought Danny Bruhl, who played Lauda, was superb. Really believable throughout. Ron Howard did a great job of recreating the crash and recovery, the audience (myself included) gasped a number of times such was the realism. It really is incredible to think what Lauda overcame to survive, let alone go on to win another two F1 world championships. An incredible person.

    There were a few parts of the film where my anorak twitched because of inaccuracies or artistic license, but leaving those bits aside, the producers did a superb job. Easily the best motorsport film since Grand Prix and perhaps in its own way, Rush might be the best motorsport movie ever. For all us petrol heads, we need to remember this is a film aimed at the masses, not made solely for us geeks. I think I would struggle to get my other half to sit for 4 hours and enjoy Grand Prix, despite its technical brilliance. If we want to see more Grand Prix cars on the big screen then we should support Rush as much as possible and not be overly critical.

    1. Tim says:

      Absolutely spot on :-)

  27. K says:

    James, every time I go to your site (and every page on it) it gives me an exe file to download and install. It says flashplayer but my computer says it could be a virus.

    1. James Allen says:

      No-one else has reported that. Will investigate

      1. K says:

        It’s gone, cheers.

  28. Phil says:

    James, I disagree with the lack of pub quotes.
    “Tell the priest to fu€¥ off, I’m still alive”
    “The names Hunt, you should be able to remember it,
    it rhymes with C@nt which is what you are my friend!”

    Plus many more laugh out loud quotes I can’t recall without looking up :)

    1. James Allen says:

      I can see what appeals to you!

      1. Phil says:

        The whole cinema was in hysterics with Lauda’s priest comment!

  29. kfzmeister says:

    I think we’re used to things “flowing” too well. Some gear change misses would actually be good.
    ;-)

  30. Prashant P says:

    Great review James. Good to see some real constructive criticism from within the F1 community. Looking forward to seeing the movie myself.

  31. chris green says:

    what about the politics at ferrari on lauda’s return from injury. that would be a great movie in itself. hiring reutemann in lauda’s absence and then derisively offering the job of ‘team manager’ to lauda for the following season.

    priceless. no wonder surtees, lauda and others walked away.

  32. Clemo says:

    Went to see Rush last night and totally loved it. I understand that some people have felt that the film skips through the season too quickly but at 2 hours I don’t think it needed any expanding.
    I actually liked the commentators updating on the season because that is exactly what happens and what we hear when we switch on the tv for every race so it made a nice familiar link between f1 now and then, and reflected what the average viewer gets.
    With a totally different feel to the average Hollywood film, it really did capture the era well and I came away with a changed opinion of lauda, ( for the better).
    The only bit I disliked was the part where Hunt beats up the reporter as I had heard that it never actually happened….however if it didn’t happen, it was completely justified so as a dramatisation I was ok ish about it.
    Go and see the film as a great couple of hours to immerse yourself in f1 on a non f1 weekend and accept that some of the details will be overlooked ….I’m pretty sure the actual titanic disaster wasn’t exactly as portrayed in the film but that doesn’t stop it being a good film and its the same with Rush.

    1. Tim says:

      I’m pretty sure the actual titanic disaster wasn’t exactly as portrayed in the film but that doesn’t stop it being a good film and its the same with Rush…..
      For that matter, I imagine Apollo 13 has more than a little dramatic licence.
      I agree, go and see the film :-)

  33. Chris says:

    The trailers put me off this one to be honest but based on this review I will pick it up on blu ray when it lands. Thanks for the review James, this site really does cover all aspects these days, good job feller.

    1. Sebee says:

      The thing is Chris, you never see anything F1 on such a big screen at 4K projection. Just on movie making technical level if shooting motorsport it’s worth the price of admission.

    2. Tim says:

      I would not be put off by the review – I have been to see the film today and it was great. It delivers thrills and spills aplenty. I judge how good a film is depending on whether I wanted the film to end – I did not want this one to end :-)

    3. Phil says:

      Chris – I would recommend you see it at the cinema. The sound alone is worth the price of admission. It’s the closest representation of the sheer power and fury of an F1 engine I have seen on the screen.

      For some reason, it never sounds as good as it does in real life, but at the cinema – it does!

  34. Darren says:

    I don’t really agree with your review James, you try to draw a lot of comparison between “Senna” and Rush. I don’t really think you can, “Senna” is basically a documentary (and a very good one at that), it uses period footage throughout and actual recorded quotes from Senna himself.

    Rush on the other hand is a movie based on the events of the 1976 season. Not being old enough to have first hand experience of that season I can’t say for certain but from what I know I think the film stays pretty true to events. Yes the hatred between them is played up a bit, as you say there are far to many pictures of them together smiling for that to be true, and yes the racing action sections are a bit over the top but the story and hence film would be a little bit boring otherwise for your casual film goer.

    I quite liked the commentators taking you through the season actaully, made you feel like you were actually in the crowd at the race.

    A lot of parts of the film are very funny, especially Lauda’s dry witted one liners and the bits with the Hesketh team.

    Overall I don’t agree with the general opinion on here that the film is poor. Yes for the die hard F1 fans it is a bit lacking on pure racing action and is a little disjointed in places, but if you take the F1 die hard hat off for a minute I think you will find its a very good film. Special credit to the actors, I thought each of their portrayals of Hunt and Lauda were absolutely spot on.

    Go and see it!

    1. James Allen says:

      I said it was a good film. I never said it was poor…?

      1. Darren says:

        No you didn’t and poor is perhaps a bit strong but the general opinion seems to be a bit negative.

  35. GRLap says:

    I am glad I was old enough in 1976 to follow the F1 season as it happened. Thank you Autoweek: I used to run home from school on Tuesdays to get my copy from the mailbox, which covered the previous weekend’s races.

  36. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – you forgot to tell us the most interesting part… who they cast as Bernie? :)

    1. Sebee says:

      A younger, CGI enhanced Jack Nicholson!

  37. Alexis says:

    Saw it yesterday and was very impressed. The CGI was epic and Bruhl’s Lauda was amazing.

    My only criticism was the mis-casting of Stephen Mangan. Julian Rhind-Tutt is a better serious actor, but having both just made it feel like a Green Wing / Barclays ad reunion.

  38. Alexis says:

    By the way, did Hunt really beat up that journo in real life??

    1. Sebee says:

      No, that was a little scene purely for satisfaction of the audience. But apparently Niki did tell a reporter to F-Off in the press conference when asked that very question.

  39. iceman says:

    Is it possible to spot the UK circuits that were used as stand-ins for the historical locations? (E.g. Fuji was Snetterton I believe.)

  40. Kieran Mathers says:

    Hi James – I agree completely with what you said about the commentary in the background. It’s not the way the information is relayed that annoys me, but that it was endlessly repeated. Having information given to you over and over again is really frustrating …

    … because it makes me think the film thinks I’m stupid!

    But when it wasn’t doing that – and if they’d removed that bloody commentator a bit – it would have been fantastic.

    The acting is great, the script is good and it doesn’t shy away the hideous violence that was the result of crashes. Especially when you see the remains of Koniggs crash at Watkins Glen which was just hideous.

    But I enjoyed it – ironically thinking that the race sequences were the weakest part of the movie. I did end up, in the final scene in Japan, imagining how you would have commented on it instead!

  41. Paul D says:

    I agree with the assessment “Good film, not a great one”.

    The CGI use in that F3 race (and the crash) was so bad I actually laughed.

    Nurburgring 76 was very well done though, and you could see they spent a lot of time and effort getting that right.

    I have no idea why they felt the need to show the aftermath of Cevert’s 73 crash at the start of the film and state that it was ‘his fault’. I found this completley unecessary and it upset me a bit.

    1. KRB says:

      Haven’t seen it yet, but I can’t believe they said that either. What I read about that incident is that it could’ve been a difference in driving style that helped cause it. Cevert preferred to take the chicane in a lower gear at high revs, while Stewart would take it in a higher gear at lower revs, which kept the car more stable through there.

  42. Dale says:

    Brilliant, best motor racing film I’ve seen by a mile, a terrific story and great sound track, recommended.

  43. Andy says:

    The movie was actually Grand Prix starring James Garner. Watch that then Rush and you’ll see life imitating art…

  44. nicky samengo-turner says:

    I walked out after 25 minutes…innacurate, childish, badly researched rubbish. It does not cost money to get detail correct…

      1. nicky samengo-turner says:

        Beltoise was BRM team leader, not Regazzoni, the wrong Hesketh in the film, Lauda was at March before BRM..Hunt drove the private march 731 before the hesketh was built….Lauda telling Alan Challis and Gerry van Wenden, BRM mechanics, the mechanics to ‘use more magnesium….mechanics overalls wrong…where shall i stop? My family owned the Yeoman Credit and Bowmaker F1 teams of 60 – 62, and, with respect, I worked in the game some time before you appeared, and I do remember the Rush days….

        You come from a generation that produces glaring errors in magazines, and in such critical places as the Silverstone historics commentary, and who still don’t ‘get” that Ford Mk II and Mk, !V sixties sports racing cars are NOT versions of the GT40…. and so it goes on.Bernard Cahier, Jabby Crombac, Pascal Ickx, Denis Jenkinson, and Gregor Grant have some very flimsy idle children as their successors…

      2. James Allen says:

        With respect – I didn’t write Rush. I merely asked you what the inaccuracies were. There’s no need to insult me

        My generation provides far greater insight for F1 fans on multiple platforms, if you think about it

  45. Vicky says:

    Does anyone remember the quote towards the end of the film
    “………….enemies……….friends”

    1. Ed H says:

      Something like:

      “People always said we were rivals, but James was one of the few people I respected…When I saw him several years later when he was a T.V. commentator, he was riding a bicycle with a flat tyre; still living each day as though it were his last…

      When he died, I wasn’t surprised. Just sad.”

  46. nicky samengo-turner says:

    Grow up Allen…its called free speech, and I made no personal reference to you whatsoever.

    You have a blog, make a living as a journalist, and bleat when you feel that you have been “insulted”?

    Maybe a Doctor can cure your PC sensitivity…its very common (sic.) amongst the Heome ceounties lower middle classes…no, not an insult, just “fair comment”…

  47. AndyFov says:

    I watched it last night and thought it was superb. It left me with a renewed admiration for both Hunt and Lauda, and the film did well not to take the proponent / antagonist route and rely on making a villain of either.

    The complained about commentary scripting device didn’t grate at all. I’m wondering whether that might be because viewers that have never been part of ITV’s F1 team are less likely to be snapped back to reality every five minutes by thinking “how the hell did Simon Taylor get this gig?” :)

    It’s not as special as Senna, but it’s still very very good. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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