Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde, Natalie Dormer, 1970s F1 cars
Director: Ron Backdraft Howard
Genre: Motor Racing faction
IMDB says: A re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between F1 rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
Ron Da Vinci Code Howard’s long-awaited Formula One flick Rush has finally arrived. Harsh Critic attended the Australian premiere because we were invited and because we’re more influential than those ABC hacks Margaret and David. And we reckon it’s great.
All married women should think themselves lucky. Very bloody lucky they didn’t marry Niki Lauda. And not because his face looks like a Dali — thanks to a fireball F1 crash in 1976 — but because the bloke is as romantic as an office chair.
His speech to his betrothed just before they take their vows in a stark registry office concludes with heart-wrending affection: “If I had to do this with somebody, it may as well be you”. So ladies, the next time you berate your bloke for underdoing the luvvy duvvy, think of Mrs Lauda.
Or think of Mrs Hunt, played in this movie by Olivia Aliens and Cowboys Wild. She was a model whose marriage to British F1 driver James Hunt made no discernable impact on his apetite for the ladies. His support for her career, too, was questionable: “Why don’t you fuck off back to New York. I’m sure there’s a mascara or lip gloss that needs your sluttish endorsement”.
Now this all assumes that Rush, Ron Happy Days Howard’s homage to the 1976 F1 rivalry between Austria’s Niki Lauda and England’s James Hunt, is indeed factual. The movie says it’s “based on a true story”, but it all feels too made-for-Hollywood neat to be historically accurate.
But the simple fact is, factual accuracy matters less than a curry fart in space, even one you’ve been holding in for hours on a first date. F1 anoraks will surely spot huge flaws with the cars and racetrack hoardings — though it all looked authentic to me — and then they’ll fill the darker, stickier corners of the internet with outrage at how Ron Apollo 13 Howard’s portrayal totally ruined the 1970s golden age of F1.
These probably obese and pallid denizons of mum’s cellar, ham-fisting their keyboards in anger while scoffing cheezy crust pizzas and Pepsi Max by the gallon, are irrelevant. I’m betting that most people who see Rush will not go for the education. They’ll probably have heard of Formula One in the same way they’ve heard of Somali warlords — it’s something that exists beyond the facebook-twitter-instagram circle of their lives, and every now and then it’s on TV because somebody died.
For them, Rush will be a riveting story about the clash of two head-strong personalities — the brutally businesslike Lauda (played brilliantly by Daniel Inglorious Basterds Bruhl) and the flamboyant four-in-a-bed Hunt (played equally well by Chris Thor Hemsworth) — each hell-bent on being the best racing driver in the world in a time when drivers really did risk it all. (The lingering camera-shot of Helmuth Koinnig’s decapitated body is truly gruesome.)
They’ll love the fast and furious camerawork that puts them closer to the cars than a squashed bug, and immerses them in the visceral savagery of the world’s greatest motorsport. The gravelly roar of period V8 and V12 engines pummelling them from all Dolby directions will wake them up after the slower character-development bits, and even make them care less about the heavy-handed music score by the usually deft Hans Inception Zimmer.
That all assumes these fairweather F1 fans actually go and see Rush. I’m not so sure. Would I go to a horsey flick like Flicka or Black Beauty or The Black Stallion? Nope, my only interest in horses is when I buy them in tins for my dog.
Still, do yourself a Bill Collins favour, take Harsh Critic’s word and go see Rush. It’s perfect for a first date.