In this shiny tale of Formula One rivalry, Brühl dons an unfortunate coiffure and a hilariously authentic Austrian accent as louring Niki Lauda, the abrasively frank and meticulous driver and semi-genius mechanic pitting himself against Hemsworth’s passionate and reckless rock star racer in the 1976 Grand Prix.
The trip to the finish line nudges past the two-hour mark, and half of it seems to comprise loving close-ups of record players, shimmering tarmac, attractive 1970s faces and, of course, every gleaming facet of the super-charged automobile, but it’s indulgence done stylishly, aided by a swaggering soundtrack and full-throttle sound design.
As far as themes go, the artistic-license plot runs on familiar twin engines: the power of a nemesis, and the sport’s ever-present dance with death. The two balance well, with the leads (especially the uncanny Brühl) keeping it nicely nasty and the choppy cinematography maintaining a sense of genuine, high-octane terror on the racetrack.
There are a few clunky lines, particularly near the beginning and especially from the pouting lips of Hemsworth, but as the film roars into gear most irritants fall away and the pace rarely flags. Soupedup, but expertly driven.
Rush | Directed by Ron Howard (USA, Germany 2013) with Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Alexandra Maria Lara. Starts October 3