This article is brought to you by Sky Store.
With 2013’s critically-acclaimed F1 movie Rush now available to view at home, – whether you buy the DVD or simply rent it from the Sky Store – it seems like a good time to have another look and see whether the movie still stacks up on subsequent viewings, and how it works on the small screen compared to the big screen.
Rush tells the (mostly) true story of the Formula One rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, and specifically the 1976 season. Central to the whole story is Lauda’s horrific accident at the Nurburgring, with the movie essentially divided into two halves of pre- and post-Nurburging.
The good news is that Rush is a brilliant film, regardless of whether you are a hardcore racing enthusiast or simply a fan of a good story. The cast is fantastic, with the two lead actors turning in great performances. Daniel Brühl is uncanny in his portrayal of Niki Lauda, and if you have only seen Chris Hemsworth as Thor then you will be pleasantly surprised with him as James Hunt. The supporting cast are also excellent, but for racing fans the biggest stars are the F1 cars. Watching a Ferrari 312T2 battling a McLaren M23 in HD colour and hearing the engines in full digital surround sound is a petrolhead’s nirvana. Inevitably, the effect is somewhat lessened at home when compared to the cinema (unless you have a giant screen and no neighbours to annoy), but pleasingly there doesn’t feel to be any loss of intensity or delivery in the transition to the small screen.
Like Ron Howard’s space epic Apollo 13, Rush is based on a true story with some artistic licence included to help compress several years into two hours. We are introduced to young Lauda and Hunt in a Formula 3 race at Crystal Palace which is entirely fictional but serves well to set the tone for the two protagonists and their rivalry. The first third of the film leads through their respective early seasons in F1 until we reach the main act – 1976 and the season that would define both Hunt and Lauda, although for very different reasons.
Ron Howard and the two lead actors have done an excellent job of capturing the feelings and emotions of two drivers whose characters were almost diametrically opposed. And despite the numerous Hollywood liberties taken throughout the movie, the overall portrayal is true to both Lauda and Hunt – in fact, it is a more authentic and honest characterisation than the hero-worship ‘documentary’ that was Senna.
The contrast between the freewheeling playboy lifestyle of Hunt and the gut-wrenching recovery of Lauda after his horrific accident is hardly subtle, but serves to illustrate the mindset of driving in Formula One in the Seventies – you could be dead or seriously injured tomorrow, so live for today. The scenes of Niki Lauda in hospital are particularly gruesome, but serve the purpose of bringing us into Lauda’s world of agony rather than simply sensationalising it for a movie audience.
While Daniel Brühl steals the show as Niki Lauda, and was probably unlucky to have been overlooked during the year’s movie award season, the real winners are the motor racing fans who have waited many long years for Hollywood to finally do justice to their sport. Rush is well worth another viewing if you have already seen it, and a must-watch movie if you haven’t.
Rent RUSH and win!
Formula One may have changed almost beyond recognition in the nearly forty years since James Hunt and Niki Lauda battled for the 1976 World Championship, but the excitement of seeing Formula One up close hasn’t changed at all. To celebrate the arrival of Rush at the Sky Store, Sky are giving away a VIP trip to this year’s British Grand Prix, plus additional runners-up prizes. All you have to do is rent Rush from the Sky Store before 23 February to enter. The Sky website has the full T&Cs.