‘Rush’: The Reviews Are In!

Ron Howard's new film has critics praising the director's portrayal of Formula One racing.

Before he descends upon Earthly theaters as the Asgardian Avenger Thor, Chris Hemsworth will surely turn heads with his portrayal of real-life Formula One driver James Hunt, who — alongside his main competitor Niki Lauda — grabbed national headlines during the high-stakes 1976 racing season. Daniel Brühl stars as Lauda, the Austrian driver that racing fans loved to hate. In contrast, Hemsworth portrays Hunt, a big, blonde, English playboy that you might end up hating to love. Behind the camera is Ron Howard, who takes Formula One racing — a subject that’s failed to grab America’s attention for nearly four decades — and uses it to expertly dive into the psyches of two incredibly nuanced and incredibly opposite individuals.

Critics are united in their praise for “Rush,” a film that not only signals Howard’s surprising return to form after detouring into mainstream fare with “The Da Vinci Code,” but also showcases Hemsworth and Brühl, two actors who turn in career-defining performances. Between the throwback film grittiness, vivid cinematography, captivating score, and innovative camera angles that make every race a unique experience, “Rush” is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.

Read on for a sample of “Rush” reviews.

Full Color Characters
” ‘Rush,’ which is serious without being self-serious, fun without being trivial, feels like the movie that he has been waiting to make his whole life — it’s no wonder that he climbs into the cockpits with the camera again and again. Having a good script makes a difference, as does a brilliant cinematographer like Anthony Dod Mantle, who, shooting in digital, paints the screen in stunning, saturated colors that put the story’s extremes into vivid terms. There are no washed-out tones or characters here.” — Manohla Dargis, href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/movies/rush-goes-inside-formula-one-and-two-of-its-titans.html" target="_blank">The New York Times

Ron Howard At His Best
” ‘Sexy’ and ‘stylish’ are not the adjectives that usually come to mind when describing the blandly middlebrow output of director Ron Howard. But whether it’s the racing cars (Howard’s debut effort was, after all, ‘Grand Theft Auto’) or the real-life daredevil drivers whose stories he’s telling, ‘Rush’ finds the filmmaker at his most electrifying… The look of ‘Rush’ is extraordinary, from the frequent use of close-ups (which turn the big and noisy sport of auto racing into something intimate) to the filtered, grainy cinematography that makes the movie appear as though it had been filmed in the mid-1970s, when most of it takes place.” — Alonso Duralde, href="http://www.thewrap.com/rush-review-ron-howard-shifts-gears-with-a-sexy-stylish-racing-saga/" target="_blank">The Wrap

A Love Letter To Its Leads
“Hemsworth’s Hunt is rakish and undeniably adorable. He’s the one you want to look at, but Brühl is the one you want to watch. His Lauda is at first deeply unlikable and uncharismatic, a glowering gnat. But he knows himself and his limitations intimately, in a way that Hunt doesn’t, and Brühl plays that confidence as an alternative kind of sex appeal… ‘Rush’ is a fuel-injected valentine to them both, a love letter written with cursive sweeps of movement and grand whooshes of sound.” — Stephanie Zacharek, href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-09-18/film/rush/" target="_blank">Village Voice

International Excitement
“Howard’s film is at its best when the rubber meets the road. Rush traces the thrilling, neck-and-neck 1976 season from start to finish, hopscotching from Brazil to Monaco to Japan. Even though the film hurtles from one exotic locale to the next, the speedway sequences never feel repetitive — and they never let up on the gas. More than in any racing movie since 1966′s ‘Grand Prix,’ the action scenes capture the daredevil kick of sitting in the cramped, claustrophobic cockpit of a Ferrari, zipping around hairpin turns as tires squeal and engines roar.” — Chris Nashawaty, href="http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20721908,00.html" target="_blank">Entertainment Weekly

Exhilarating Experience
“Too often in the intervening years, Howard has played it safe, but here, his choices are anything but obvious. He embraces the power of music to heighten the experience, but goes the opposite direction that one might expect with it, using Hans Zimmer’s cello-driven score to steer things to a deeper place. The same goes for the story itself: Who else would have imagined F1 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.’ ” — Peter Debruge, Variety

Tell us what you think of “Rush” in the comments below!