The populace thrives on competition; contests abound in all areas of life; commencing with spelling bees, science fairs, essays, dancing, singing, debating; but it is in the world of sports where the lust for victory exceeds all other fields; possibly because of the universal appeal, the devotional aspects of the fans and feeding frenzy of the press; nothing quenches satisfaction like rivalries between the exceptional; the rarefied group that outshines, topples the best, attaining, tasting momentary immortality. Teams such as the Celtics vs the Lakers; Duke vs North Carolina; Packers vs the Bears. Individual duals: Frazier vs Ali; Navratilova vs Evert; Thorpe vs Phelps.
Ron Howard excavates the carnivorous depth of his imagination and depicts a rivalry long forgotten, between two race car drivers, and a 1976 Formula One competition that has to be heralded as one the most remarkable championships in racing history. Brash, British driver “James Hunt” marvelously rendered by handsome, charismatic Chris Hemsworth and egocentric Austrian driver “Niki Lauda”, piercingly portrayed by Daniel Bruhl; both equally riveting as rivals, feasting on their megalomaniac quest to best each other.
Stunningly, breathlessly filmed, Howard concentrates on the drivers personalities, fragmented by their private and public personas; diametric opposites, Hunt thrives on booze, babes and the slavering adulation of his idolaters; whereas Lauda, with stringent focus, never deviates from his concrete mission of winning; his brutal, laconic honesty is refreshing and arrogant simultaneously. Their limited “congeniality” prospects do not rob them of respect and grudging admiration.
“Rush” captivates the death-defying, monumental flirtation all drivers are presciently aware of the moment the flag descends; mortality is glaringly fleeting, potentially sabotaged, going 220 miles per hour; the “rush” an addictive aphrodisiac, briefly illuminating omniscience, banishing the banal; jousting, co-mingling with the gods on Mount Olympus.