When Rush was first released, I remember seeing a series of gifs, comparing the critical moments of Niki Lauda’s infamous crash in 1976 to the cinematic recreation in the Ron Howard film. To say that it was near-identical is to sum up Rush – its dedication to accuracy is both one of its strongest qualities, and its only downfall.
I loved Rush for its passion. I think I’m more of a James Hunt – gutsy, emotionally turbulent, but driven by heart. The film is infused with this passion, and it leaked into me, despite not giving a damn about motorsports. The highs and lows of Hunt were my own, and that’s such a rare sensation that for it to feel so authentic is quite indescribable.
Ron Howard’s film-making style, however, positions him as more of a Niki Lauda. Rush is at times a clinical walkthrough of something that cannot be dissected – passion. And yet there are moments when it feels like we’re having it spelled out, like we can’t rely on what we’re feeling in the heat of the moment.
Rush is a film that is both about, and demonstrates duality. I hope that was a deliberate director choice. Because if not, all the historical accuracy, the exposition, the assessment… It makes me think that perhaps Ron Howard didn’t make Rush for the same emotional reasons Hunt raced. Exacting and nearing obsession, maybe he’s more of a Niki Lauda.