Rush: Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda

Rush draws positive responses in first 20 reviews


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Rush: Chris Hemsworth as James Hunt and Daniel Bruhl as Niki LaudaRush is set to open in the UK next week and the first reviews have already begun to appear. So what have the critics made of Ron Howard’s feature on the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda?

The initial responses to the latest film about Formula One have been favourable. Whether from established cinema critics, mainstream newspapers or motor sport publications, the consensus seems to be very positive.

Most of those who’ve given it a rating concurred with the four-out-of-five marks given in F1 Fanatic’s review of Rush on Monday. A handful of others have gone one higher or lower.

While not unstinting in their praise, most reviewers seem to have enjoyed Rush, hailing its fast-paced story, the portrayal of the main characters (particularly Daniel Bruhl’s performance as Lauda) and the dramatic action sequences.

Those coming at the film from a motor racing background have drawn attention to some liberties taken with the facts. More than one reviewer raised questions about the overlooking of the 1976 British Grand Prix, and a scene late in the film where Hunt confronts a journalist. But most of them view the film as a success.

Here’s what the first 20 reviews of Rush had to say about it. If you’ve not got time to read them all, a few recommendations have been highlighted:

F1 FanaticKeith Collantine“Never fails to deliver the exhilaration and entertainment you expect from a film called Rush.”4/5
EmpireIan Feer“It rarely deviates from formula, but Rush wins big, delivering the most exciting F1 footage created for film.”4/5
VarietyPeter Debruge“Who else would have imagined Formula One 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.'”n/a
The Hollywood ReporterTodd McCarthy“[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.”n/a
Screen InternationalMark Adams“Ron Howard directs impressively and seems to have a real feel for this most international of sports (and one that has never had the recognition in the US, where NASCAR rules) and is aided by a smart, clever and well structured script by Peter Morgan and wonderfully immersive cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle.”n/a
The TelegraphDavid Gritten“Its greatest achievement may be to underline that there are real men, all vulnerable flesh and blood, inside those infernal machines.”4/5
The IndependentGeoffrey MacNab“At times, the film veers into buddy movie territory. The drivers, for all their rivalry and seeming enmity, are utterly fascinated by one another. There is also an attempt to cast Hunt and Lauda as mythic archetypes. All this is only fitfully successful.”4/5
The Sunday TimesWill Dron“Rush is not a perfect motor racing film but it is a remarkably affecting and evocative piece of cinema that dares to scratch below the surface of the Hunt/Lauda legend, and succeeds.”4/5
Total FilmJames Mottram“Rush far exceeds expectations, emerging as one of the most rip-roaring rides of Howard?s career.”5/5
Digital SpyBen Rawson-JonesThe bulk of the criticisms perhaps stem from there being no conceivable way that art could ever reach the dramatic or emotional heights of the reality, in much the same way that the racing documentary Senna could never be topped by a straightforward movie retelling.”3/5
Cult BoxSarah Deen“A decidedly middle-of-the-road (sorry) drama buoyed by solid central performances.”3/5
Den of GeekSeb Patrick“Howard directs the speed sequences with verve and flair, rarely relying on gimmicks ?ǣ save the odd slightly ethereal blurry first-person sequence ?ǣ and instead simply conveying a pure sense of thrill and pace.”4/5
The TimesKevin Eason“If you are an anorak-wearing, stopwatch-carrying F1 fan, then look away now because, inevitably, liberties have been taken with the facts and there is little of the black politics and chicanery that also marred that fateful 1976 season.”n/a
PistonheadsAlistair Weaver“Given that so much time and effort was spent recreating these pivotal scenes, it’s a shame Howard couldn’t resist the schmaltz.”n/a
SkyMike Wise“Rush was always going to be a must-see for F1 fans but its reach spreads far wider – not only because the story it tells stretches beyond the realms of sporting endeavour but also because its protagonists display, in their heroism and their flaws, very human qualities.”n/a
AutosportJonathan Noble“Commercial success dictates that the film embraces the widest audience possible and in chasing that it has found that right balance between entertaining the fans and appealing to everyone.”n/a
ESPNMaurice Hamilton“The best feature film you’ve ever seen on F1”.n/a
Joe SawardJoe Saward“A good feature film about Grand Prix racing was long, long overdue. This is it.”n/a
RichlandF1Luke Smith“Howard has perfected racing in the 70s, an era ‘when sex was safe and racing was dangerous.'”5/5
F1 Social DiaryAdam Hay Nicholls“Finally, we have a racing movie that can be enjoyed by people who aren?t ??bobble-hats?. It just so happens, it?s by far the best racing movie ever.”n/a

Over to you

Have you seen Rush yet? Give your verdict on the film here:

What do you make of the Rush reviews so far? Are there any particular film critics whose verdict on Rush you’re waiting to hear? Have your say in the comments.


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 22 comments on “Rush draws positive responses in first 20 reviews”

    1. Special features have start showing for Latin America, it mades me hopeful that it will be show. I really want to see it. Senna never made it to my country :(

      1. hola Celeste, Senna never made it to mine either, but let’s have hope that Rush does. It will be a shame that neither the Band nor the film can be seen here. BTW where are you from? I’m from Vzla.

        1. Honduras. :)

      2. @celeste @monosodico Really? Even in the small city I live Senna was presented for a few weeks, I guess I have to thank Mr. Slim for that hehe :p

        1. @mantresx what country are you from? In my country motorsport isn´t very popular, and we only have some enduro races.

          I rented Senna on iTunes, and it eventually was broadcast on cable tv.

          1. @celeste mexico that’s why I thanked carlos slim!
            But yes it sucks when there’s no interest in motorsport, but luckily for me things have improved drastically since Pérez arrived.

    2. And with 10,000 F1 fans in town looking for an aircon hideout through the day when does Rush premier in Singapore? That’s right sports fans, the 26th of September. Sometimes I just can’t believe how badly wrong some companies can get it. Fail.

      1. @thecollaroyboys – Release dates are chosen based on the nearest weekend. Films typically release on a Wednesday or Thursday, because any box office takings the film receives in that opening half-week are credited to the upcoming weekend. If the film were to release on the weekend, the box office takings would be lower than normal. That’s why no film will be released on a weekend.

        Also bear in mind that “Rush” was never aimed solely at Formula 1 fans.

        1. I didn’t say release it on the weekend, release it for the F1 weekend, the previous week. And while it might be aimed at a general audience it is a highly specific tale about a specific sport so motor racing fans are a key audience to get the chatter going.

          Which gets away from the actual point. You don’t launch a product after a key customer group have left town. If I was a cinema owner in Singapore I’d be hopping mad. And imagine the cross promotions and tie ins they could have done with the teams in town.

          1. @thecollaroyboys

            To be honest, I don’t think the effect of people going from the race to the movie would be very big at all. Unless you really push it at the track but even then your audience will be quite small.

            1. And that’s where the tie ins come in handy. Honestly, any sane marketer wouldn’t miss an opportunity like this.

    3. Just found out that Ruh will premiere in Belgium on october the second. Why on earth so late…

      1. Your neighbors in the North will have to wait even longer (3rd October)

    4. still no word of a release date here in Japan…

    5. Doesn’t the Times have a film critic any more? You’d think they could afford one, with all the money rolling in from those online subscriptions and ads for Sky.

      1. How about the guy above who reviewed it for the Times?? Or have I missed the point!

        1. Kevin Eason is the Times’ F1 correspondent, not their film critic.

    6. I dont think Rush will even hit theaters in India.

      Another triumph for F1 in India

    7. Pretty powerful review by that Mr. Saward :\

    8. No release date here in Argentina either. I asked the cinema I usually attend and they told me a distributor is yet to get the license for showing it.

      Cool, huh? SO DAMN COOL…

    9. I’m very skeptical about this one, I was skeptical about Senna and ended up delighted. I’m not sure this will do it though…

    10. “Commercial success dictates that the film embraces the widest audience possible and in chasing that it has found that right balance between entertaining the fans and appealing to everyone.”
      Well, if Ron Howard succeeds in this, he’s a true genius :)

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