Based on the true story of two of the most famous Formula One racers to ever have lived, Rush introduces us to James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) just as their careers are beginning to kick off way down in Formula Three. It's during these early stages that we get to know the men a little better; Hunt is all bare-chested bravado and alcohol-induced womanizing, whereas Lauda is a borderline emotionless man, whose face seems pained whenever it's forced into a smile. These attitudes spill over into their racing styles too, as Hunt is all aggression and thrill seeking, and Lauda is decision-based-on-precision, seeing only the science of the race. These alternative view-points naturally put them at loggerheads, and as both of their careers progress over the course of the next decade, their competition only deepens.
As much a film about the sport as it is about the all-consuming nature of rivalry, this is quite possibly director Ron Howard's best movie since Apollo 13, and also its closest companion piece in his own back catalogue. Getting under the skin of men who put their lives on the line for the sake of accomplishment, this is also one of Howard's most "grown-up" movies to date, with sex scenes and drugs and excessive swearing. It also helps that he's got two career-best performances from Hemsworth and Bruhl, both men flawed by ambition in different ways, even if Hunt's character arc (and accent) isn't a million miles away from Thor's.
Unfortunately, given the decent running time, the movie flies through the bullet points of their lives, and due to this speed, there are some casualties along the way. Romantic sub-plots are either left unexplored (Alexandra Maria Lara's character inexplicably falls for the mostly asshole-y Lauda) or picked up and dropped at random (Olivia Wilde as Hunt's model wife gets very little screen time), while the plot unfolds like a by-the-numbers rehash of pretty much every sports movie ever made.
So not quite Formula One film-making due to its formulaic nature, but Rush is still fast and powerful entertainment.