Movie Reviews

'Rush' Gets Points For Style, Doesn't Win Our Hearts

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Formula 1 racing is having its moment in the sun on American movie screens. The new movie Rush attempts to combine Hollywood style with an independent film's sensibility. Rush is directed by Ron Howard.


Formula One racing is having its moment on American movie screens. The documentary "Senna" was a hit a few years back, and now "Rush" is in theaters. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: The elegant cars of Formula One racing are thoroughbreds. But "Rush," the new film set in that world, is more of a hybrid. It attempts to combine Hollywood style with an independent film sensibility with mixed results. The Hollywood style comes from director Ron Howard. He brings his usual glossy professionalism to this real-life rivalry between Austria's Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Bruhl, and Britain's James Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth. These drivers hate each other from the first moment they meet.


DANIEL BRUHL: (as Niki Lauda) It was my line. I had that corner.

CHRIS HEMSWORTH: (as James Hunt) What, do you mean the one that you spun out of and finished facing the other way? I think that corner had you.

BRUHL: (as Niki Lauda) (unintelligible) What if I hadn't braked? We'd have crashed.

HEMSWORTH: (as James Hunt) We didn't, did we? Thanks to your impeccable survival instincts.

TURAN: The problem between these two isn't just that both men are obsessively driven to win the racing title. It's that they view life so completely differently that they can't help but get on each other's nerves. The charismatic James Hunt has as much raw talent as any driver of his generation, but he's hot-headed and averse to discipline. Lauda, by contrast, is a superb technician with zero gift for people and a tendency to insult folks without even trying. "Rush" centers on the most famous race between these two, the 1976 German Grand Prix, but also takes time to show us their personal lives, like the unorthodox way Lauda courted his wife, played by Alexandra Maria Lara.


ALEXANDRA MARIA LARA: (as Marlene Lauda) Well, you know, Formula One drivers, they have long hair and are sexy, and their shirts are open to here.

BRUHL: (as Niki Lauda) Thank you.

LARA: (as Marlene Lauda) Yes. Anyway, look at the way he's driving, like an old man.

BRUHL: (as Niki Lauda) Right now, it's zero incentive for reward. Why would I drive fast?

LARA: (as Marlene Lauda) Because I'm asking you to.

TURAN: In a satisfying scene, Ron Howard, bringing his mass-market abilities to this adult subject. But his polished approach is not ideally suited to the edginess that this story cries out for. While "Rush" gets points for style, it doesn't win our hearts.


INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from