Movie Review: 'Rush' Is Exhilarating, Even Without Too Many Crashes

Oct 3, 2013

Hemsworth and Brühl prepare to drive at incredible speeds in 'Rush'

Rush is a superior race car movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.

But you will enjoy it a lot more if you take seriously the business of creating and driving at incredible speeds cars that are made only to be driven at incredible speeds, on tracks that are designed only to be driven on at incredible speeds.

This has always seemed to me to be trifling behavior, but it provides most of the action in Rush and I have to admit it is exciting, even if it is not, technically, reckless driving of the type movies adore, with no Ben-Hur attempts to bump each other off the road and not many crashes.

But to Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, this is virtually the meaning of life itself. They are given no clear motives beyond thrill and ego. Any more serious motivation is left to Olivia Wilde as the only major character I could fully approve of, and she is not much more than a typical passive movie wife.

But director Ron Howard never neglects characterizations, and the relationship between Hemsworth and Brühl makes them sympathetic, whether you fully approve of them or not. Both are almost totally self-centered, but they bear no malice toward anybody and their rivalry as the fastest drivers in the world includes appreciation of each other's accomplishments, and only occasional and momentary bad feeling. Considering what they regard as being at stake, we have to give them a lot of credit for that.

Hemsworth is technically the protagonist, but Brühl has the more heroic role and treats his women better. I didn't like him more, but I admired him more in important ways.

What violence there is in Rush is important for theme and characterization, and don't assume that you know how things are going to turn out-- Ron Howard does not make formula movies, though he sometimes flirts with them.