Ron Howard's racing car drama "Rush" is out this weekend and it's been getting great reviews.
It's a giant welcome to what's been a pretty slow September at the box office despite Hugh Jackman's "Prisoners" thriller last weekend.
The film follows the rivalry of Formula One racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) during the 1970s.
The film won't make "Fast & Furious" type money at the box office — the sequel to "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" looks like it will win the weekend— but that's not a surprise since Formula One's not a popular sport in the states.
Howard nearly cancelled the project after he didn't think he could find the right actor to play Hunt.
But what is getting critics revved up about this movie is the depiction of the rivalry between the drivers along with the up-close and personal touch to the way racing scenes are filmed.
Word of mouth for the film may help it perform better than expected opening weekend. Right now, it's predicted to come in fourth behind the kid flick, "Prisoners," and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut "Don Jon."
Howard made the right decision in casting Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as two racing rivals.
"Hemsworth nails every vulnerable nuance of this conflicted charm boy. He's terrific."
"Mr. Hemsworth is prettier than the all-too-real man he plays in “Rush.” Yet this surplus of beauty works for the role because the actor, who holds the screen with the unconscious physical confidence of the truly lovely, looks like the star that James Hunt became."
"If Brühl doesn’t give the movie class, exactly, he does give it a heart and a brain, taking a character who races not for girls and glory but for the love of the sport and making him someone we care about and respect."
"Pitted against each other, they're like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. It's not just about beating the other guy, it's about humiliating him in the process."
The racing scenes put "Fast & Furious" to shame. You're put in the drivers seat. Variety:
"He takes audiences places that human eyes could never fit as the cars hurtle forward at top speed, pioneering an intuitive visual logic that flows from the stands to the cars to the subjective perspective of the racers themselves."
It's not just the cars. Unlike other racing films ("Days of Thunder"), the movie also plays well with the storyline off the track.
"Most modern-era car racing movies, from Grand Prix and Le Mans to Days of Thunder, have been far stronger at portraying the excitement on the track than at developing interesting downtime drama among the characters. But rather the reverse is true with 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."
You'll be impressed with the visuals.
"The technique is so cutting-edge, it’s impossible to tell where the practical photography ends and visual effects begin."
"Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle matches the film’s look to period archive footage and finds angles and perspectives you’d think impossible. It’s anything but boring."
Despite all the praise, L.A. Times says the film never feels "completely convincing."
"Though one enjoys and appreciates "Rush" for what it is, it does not thrill the blood the way we have the right to expect a film like this to do."
THR says Hemsworth and Bruhl's characters are the only two of which you'll really receive in-depth character analysis.
"Morgan hasn't bothered to add more than one dimension to any of the other characters nor to provide especially memorable dialogue."
Overall consensus: See it.
If you're not interested in seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut "Don Jon" (which also looks really good), this sounds like a great alternative. Clearly, if you're looking for a good racing film this is your movie. Obviously, if cars aren't your thing stay away. But if you're a fan of Hemsworth and want to see him in another "godly" role, "Rush" should give you the adrenaline boost you're looking for. Plus, it never hurts when you have composer Hans Zimmer putting together the score.