Rush (2013)

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Why is it that I can’t embrace Ron Howard films like many others do? I think he is a good director and I generally find his movies watchable but at the end of the day, I don’t find myself going crazy over them. What I feel towards his movies is like what I feel towards Dan Brown novels: they are gripping and exciting, even to the point where I’ll admit that I can’t put them down, but after I’m done reading they never leave much of an impression in my mind. It’s funny to note how he directed both Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code though (And terribly too, IMO, but I’m not going to talk about those movies now).

Personally, I’ve always thought that Apollo 13 was a bit underwhelming, even after a recent re-watch. Given that it’s based on a true story, it’s funny how the movie still seems so Hollywood and how the characters are portrayed as such stereotypes, especially with Tom Hanks doing his charming American movie hero thing again.

I watched A Beautiful Mind very, very long ago and back then it was, like, the greatest and most beautiful movie I’ve ever watched. Having said that, I’ve never watched it again ever since. Although I even have the VCD in my bookshelf, I realise that I’ll most likely pass it over for movies that I’ve watched countless times, like The Godfather and A Streetcar named Desire. I’m really trying to figure out what the problem is, but in the end, I think it’s just a matter of preference. I really don’t know how I’ll react to A Beautiful Mind again if I watch it now, so I think I should just retain the good memories that I have of it 🙂

Rush is the latest Ron Howard movie that I’ve watched and I’ll go ahead and say that… I kinda feel the same, although I’ll also add that I probably liked this movie much more than his other films. It’s like a very standard good movie, if that makes sense. The technical aspects, such as the sound editing, score and cinematography are all very good, which is not unexpected from Ron Howard movies. His direction is also quite good and I think the movie has this very intense atmosphere that is very fitting to the theme of rivalry. I really liked how he made the racing scenes so thrilling to watch, which is really surprising for me since I usually have no interest in car racing. However, I think one obvious improvement is that the characterization is a lot better here. Sure, James Hunt is the typical playboy racer who drives because he enjoys the thrill but I think there is some underlying depth (thanks to Hemsworth portrayal) that makes it less unbearable. On the other hand, Niki Lauda is like that annoying, over-competitive and over-achieving geek in school who analyses everything and is very risk adverse. What I like here is how the contrast between the two characters are depicted not only in terms of their driving styles but also in their personal lifestyles. Lauda is really a “good boy”, who claims that he sleeps early and doesn’t drink unless he has to. He is also noticeably antisocial, although I read that this part is not true in real life. On the other hand, James Hunt is the typical commitment phobe who sleeps around and only believes in enjoying himself and having fun.

The acting was probably the best aspect of the movie to me. Both LEAD actors really avoided making their characters seem like stereotypes, which is what I find truly remarkable despite the way they were written. It’s funny how Daniel BrĂĽhl is getting nominated in the supporting actor category in all the major film awards because to me, he’s undeniably the lead of the film. Like, there’s totally no question about it. Still, his performance was very good, and he probably had more to do dramatically which is why he is getting recognized over Chris Hemsworth. He is very believable in showing how Lauda is a very competent racer on the track, but a very socially awkward man in real life. The scene where he says that happiness is his enemy (or something like that) really sums the character’s personality up. I find his chemistry with Alexandra Maria Lara great, and the hospital recovery scenes are really moving without seeming too clichĂ©d. I liked the subtle change in his character, like how he noticeably becomes closer and more affectionate towards his wife.

Although Hemsworth gets the more one note and predictable character, I actually think that he was very effective in his role, and I really believe that he did the best he could with it. I really admired some of his scenes, such as when he tried to persuade his wife not to leave him and when he felt guilty about causing the accident. Although the role required him to use more of his charm and charisma, I think he actually avoided the traps of it and made the character seem like a believable and flawed human being. This performance was an especially pleasant surprise for me, because the only other movie that I’ve seen Chris Hemsworth in is The Avengers (Never watched Thor, don’t intend to either), so I really didn’t know what to expect from him. I’m beginning to think that he’s more talented than his brother lol.

Nevertheless, the movie did suffer from the typical Hollywood treatment at times, although I didn’t think it was as bad here. The scene where James beats up the journalist is kinda unnecessary, but it didn’t bother me a lot. There are scenes (especially towards the ending) where the characters basically spew inspirational quotes at one another, but it wasn’t that bad and to be honest, this wasn’t something that has bothered me in movies unless it becomes very manipulative, overly sentimental and obvious. I liked the film quite a lot, and I wouldn’t hesitate to give it 8/10. Nice work. If you want to watch another great film about rivalry, I’d recommend Amadeus (1984). It is directed by Milos Forman and it is really a masterpiece.

Oh god school is starting tomorrow and I am TERRIFIED. No kid.

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