Gear-head or not, you should undoubtedly be excited for one of the must-see films of the fall, Ron Howard’s Rush. The ensemble cast perfectly complements the Academy Award-winning Howard in his recreation of the most dramatic season of motorsport’s golden age.

Rush paints the behind-the-scenes story of the 1976 Formula One season. Two legends of the sport, world champions Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), duke it out both on and off the track to claim the ultimate prize in auto racing. The staunch, calculating Lauda contrasts Hunt’s laidback playboy attitude in both his personal life and approach to racing. The 1976 season was about so much more than high-techracecars accelerating in circles, and the film’s numerous human elements add to its mass appeal. The film manages to be both entertaining and meaningful. This is not a movie about cars, but a movie about life and rivalries.

Howard is known for his devotion to recreating history as authentically as possible, and Rush was no exception. There was no Fast and Furious montage of cars changing gear 18 times per second, but rather a realistic approach to motor racing. The film, which is factual and accurate but also thrilling, achieves this balance because Formula One and the 1976 season were so stirring in real life.

The flame-splitting exhausts and the shrill of high-octane motors juxtaposed with the flowing champagne, the fight for victory and the reward of beautiful women — such as Suzy Miller — were at the core of movie. While some of these views might not be very politically correct, they are as wildly entertaining today as they were back in the ’70s.  Likewise, Howard did a fantastic job capturing the animalistic elements of the fire-breathing Formula One cars and the excitement of a race. It was not difficult to feel the adrenaline and rush of speed as you witnessed panoramic views of man and machine being pushed to the absolute limit. The sheer intensity and excitement of the racing render other car-related films frivolous in comparison.

While Howard’s directing skills were at the forefront, the acting provided by Bruhl in particular was equally stunning. He is unrecognizable from his previous role as the German sniper in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and is without a doubt someone to keep an eye on. Bruhl absolutely shines and hopefully, along with Formula One, will have a bigger presence in U.S. culture in the future.

Despite the large doses of glitz and glamour, the quest to become champion was the most touching aspect of the story. The obstacles those involved faced, such as violent, life-altering accidents, gave the film a beautiful take-home message. The beauty of this film stems from its ability to appeal equally to die-hard racing fans as well as to people just looking for an entertaining, drama-filled movie.

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