“I can’t believe I went nearly three weeks without going to the movies. But Avenue Q was running strong, and the only movie that the post-Labor Day grave yard offered that made my MUST list was promised to someone, and I’m not entirely sure when we’ll get around to seeing it. Now that the show’s done, I can get back to this whole movie thing. Maybe I’ll even get around to watching movies at home to blog as well.
I thought I was gonna hafta wait until new offerings this weekend, but a buddy of mine texted me late Sunday that he had scored a pair of tickets for a sneak of Rush yesterday. Um hell yes! This is just the sort of thing I now have time for!
In short, I was impressed. Ron Howard is one of the greatest film makers of our day, and once again he delivers strong. Rush is the story of two Formula 1 rival racers in the 70s, and it follows them from their start to their big showdown season. It plays out with a dual narrative, alternating between our two leads James Hunt played by THor himself, Chris Hemsworth and Niki Lauda played by Inglorious Basterds’ Daniel Bruhl. While one is originally shown as more of the good guy than the other, as the story progresses, you lose track of who you’re supposta cheer for. There came a point where I realized that I would have been simultaneously perfectly satisfied and completely upset with either possible outcome. That’s not easy to do.
I’ve stated before that one sign of a good movie is that you walk out of there with a new interest. Maybe you don’t ever act on it, but at least while the credits are rolling, you’re excited to dive into something different. One of my favorite sports examples that illustrates this is how jazzed I was about MMA after watching Warrior a couple years ago. I still have not seen a single UFC match, but every time I watch the movie, I swear I’m going to start following it. I knew nothing about Formula 1, but for at least a few minutes, I wanted to learn everything I could. It was a little frustrating for me (and this is a failure on my part, not the films) that if I’d done my homework and knew my sports history, I’d know how things would play out. I’d know what the incident that’s alluded to in the opening scenes was. I was just so impatient to get thru the story and get the answers. Just because I didn’t already know these things, I was gonna hafta wait thru the next two hours. #firstworldproblems
Hemsworth was wonderfully charismatic, even through his character’s arrogance. He just has that charm about him where no matter what he’s saying or doing, you’re with him. However, for me, the real thrill was watching Bruhl. Okay, so mostly it’s because this is the first post-Basterds role that I see him in, and playing an iconic Tarantino character (he was Fredrick Zoller, the German solider who kills a bunch of soliders and then gets a movie made about him, that he stars in) makes him royalty in my mind. He took a character that should have been an insufferable twit with poor social skills and eventually won all our sympathies.
Also, the movie is called Rush for good reason. That’s exactly what the whole thing felt like. Besides the character drama, the races really were a dose of adrenaline. Knowing it was a true story meant anything could happen. The Hollywood ending with a nice bow on top was not guaranteed. Heart was in my throat each time these guys hit the track. I’ve been so trained when watching films that if you see a close up of a piece of an object, it’s going to become significant shortly. It’s going to break or be used in a pivotal scene. Howard played with that expectation and showed many closeups of various parts of the cars during the race. I really had no clue if those vehicles were ever even going to stay together. That didn’t help my heart rate during the screening
Rush – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/