Rush is set to open in the UK next week and the first reviews have already begun to appear. So what have the critics made of Ron Howard’s feature on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda?
The initial responses to the latest film about Formula One have been favourable. Whether from established cinema critics, mainstream newspapers or motor sport publications, the consensus seems to be very positive.
Most of those who’ve given it a rating concurred with the four-out-of-five marks given in F1 Fanatic’s review of Rush on Monday. A handful of others have gone one higher or lower.
While not unstinting in their praise, most reviewers seem to have enjoyed Rush, hailing its fast-paced story, the portrayal of the main characters (particularly Daniel Bruhl’s performance as Lauda) and the dramatic action sequences.
Those coming at the film from a motor racing background have drawn attention to some liberties taken with the facts. More than one reviewer raised questions about the overlooking of the 1976 British Grand Prix, and a scene late in the film where Hunt confronts a journalist. But most of them view the film as a success.
Here’s what the first 20 reviews of Rush had to say about it. If you’ve not got time to read them all, a few recommendations have been highlighted:
|F1 Fanatic||Keith Collantine||“Never fails to deliver the exhilaration and entertainment you expect from a film called Rush.”||4/5|
|Empire||Ian Feer||“It rarely deviates from formula, but Rush wins big, delivering the most exciting F1 footage created for film.”||4/5|
|Variety||Peter Debruge||“Who else would have imagined Formula One as an appropriate conduit for existential self-examination? And yet, you’ve seldom felt more alive in a movie theater than you will experiencing ‘Rush.’”||n/a|
|The Hollywood Reporter||Todd McCarthy||“[Rush] offers perfectly coherent racing coverage but devotes far more time to exploring the personalities of two drivers who represented behavioral polar extremes and drove each other to distraction.”||n/a|
|Screen International||Mark Adams||“Ron Howard directs impressively and seems to have a real feel for this most international of sports (and one that has never had the recognition in the US, where NASCAR rules) and is aided by a smart, clever and well structured script by Peter Morgan and wonderfully immersive cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle.”||n/a|
|The Telegraph||David Gritten||“Its greatest achievement may be to underline that there are real men, all vulnerable flesh and blood, inside those infernal machines.”||4/5|
|The Independent||Geoffrey MacNab||“At times, the film veers into buddy movie territory. The drivers, for all their rivalry and seeming enmity, are utterly fascinated by one another. There is also an attempt to cast Hunt and Lauda as mythic archetypes. All this is only fitfully successful.”||4/5|
|The Sunday Times||Will Dron||“Rush is not a perfect motor racing film but it is a remarkably affecting and evocative piece of cinema that dares to scratch below the surface of the Hunt/Lauda legend, and succeeds.”||4/5|
|Total Film||James Mottram||“Rush far exceeds expectations, emerging as one of the most rip-roaring rides of Howard’s career.”||5/5|
|Digital Spy||Ben Rawson-Jones||“The bulk of the criticisms perhaps stem from there being no conceivable way that art could ever reach the dramatic or emotional heights of the reality, in much the same way that the racing documentary Senna could never be topped by a straightforward movie retelling.”||3/5|
|Cult Box||Sarah Deen||“A decidedly middle-of-the-road (sorry) drama buoyed by solid central performances.”||3/5|
|Den of Geek||Seb Patrick||“Howard directs the speed sequences with verve and flair, rarely relying on gimmicks – save the odd slightly ethereal blurry first-person sequence – and instead simply conveying a pure sense of thrill and pace.”||4/5|
|The Times||Kevin Eason||“If you are an anorak-wearing, stopwatch-carrying F1 fan, then look away now because, inevitably, liberties have been taken with the facts and there is little of the black politics and chicanery that also marred that fateful 1976 season.”||n/a|
|Pistonheads||Alistair Weaver||“Given that so much time and effort was spent recreating these pivotal scenes, it’s a shame Howard couldn’t resist the schmaltz.”||n/a|
|Sky||Mike Wise||“Rush was always going to be a must-see for F1 fans but its reach spreads far wider – not only because the story it tells stretches beyond the realms of sporting endeavour but also because its protagonists display, in their heroism and their flaws, very human qualities.”||n/a|
|Autosport||Jonathan Noble||“Commercial success dictates that the film embraces the widest audience possible and in chasing that it has found that right balance between entertaining the fans and appealing to everyone.”||n/a|
|ESPN||Maurice Hamilton||“The best feature film you’ve ever seen on F1″.||n/a|
|Joe Saward||Joe Saward||“A good feature film about Grand Prix racing was long, long overdue. This is it.”||n/a|
|RichlandF1||Luke Smith||“Howard has perfected racing in the 70s, an era ‘when sex was safe and racing was dangerous.’”||5/5|
|F1 Social Diary||Adam Hay Nicholls||“Finally, we have a racing movie that can be enjoyed by people who aren’t ‘bobble-hats’. It just so happens, it’s by far the best racing movie ever.”||n/a|
Over to you
Have you seen Rush yet? Give your verdict on the film here:
What do you make of the Rush reviews so far? Are there any particular film critics whose verdict on Rush you’re waiting to hear? Have your say in the comments.
- F1 2013 – the F1 Fanatic review
- Rush – the F1 Fanatic review
- British Motor Shows & Racing in the 1970s reviewed
- The Playboy and The Rat reviewed
- Martin Brundle Scrapbook reviewed
Image © Jaap Buitendijk