Rush Blu-ray/DVD reviewed

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I’m feeling a bit of fatigue when it comes to the subject of Rush.

Since the film appeared in cinemas five months ago the same story has been told again in 1: Life on the Limit and short documentary Hunt vs Lauda.

The success of Ron Howard and Peter Morgan’s vivid and dramatic retelling of the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda can be gauged from the widespread praise it earned on its release both from those who were familiar with the story and those who weren’t.

Inevitably with a ‘based on a true story’ film such as this, some objections were raised to what was left out, what was left in, and what was invented. There isn’t much of the latter – as Morgan himself notes in an interview on the disc there is little need to “embellish” with a story like this.

One invention which drew particular criticism was the scene depicting Hunt punching a journalist who had asked Lauda “do you think your marriage can survive with the way you look now?” following his facial disfigurement at the Nurburgring.

This incident never happened. But Rush is not a review of the 1976 Formula One season, it is a dramatisation.

As an effective short-hand for showing us that Hunt wasn’t above using his fists when he chose (which is true) and that some of the media reportage on Lauda’s recovery was nothing short of despicable (also true), the scene serves a purpose. It also acts as a counterbalance to the film’s occasional over-egging of the rivalry between two people who were, ultimately, friends – something we are left in no doubt about at the close.

In the extras you’ll find a handful of deleted scenes (most of which, curiously, are focused on Lauda) and the usual behind-the-scenes stuff.

A few of these are genuinely interesting. I especially would have liked to see more of the excellent feature on how the collection of period cars was assembled and filmed. Another piece on choosing the locations for the the races – a particular weakness of the film for F1 enthusiasts – is conspicuously brief.

Though I may be a bit weary of the story by now, the film is still easy to recommend and a huge amount of fun. But if you thought I was going to get to the end of this review without pointing out the thrilling climax to the film would have been ruined by Bernie Ecclestone’s double points nonsense, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

F1 Fanatic rating

Buy Rush (Limited Edition Steelbook Blu-ray and DVD – UK)

Buy Rush (Blu-ray – UK)

Buy Rush (DVD – UK)

Buy Rush (Blu-ray, DVD and digital – USA)

Buy Rush (Blu-ray – USA)

Buy Rush (DVD – USA)

Rush Blu-Ray/DVD

Publisher: Studiocanal
Published: January 2013
Price: ??24.99 (Blu-ray) / ??19.99 (DVD)


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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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53 comments on “Rush Blu-ray/DVD reviewed”

  1. But if you thought I was going to get to the end of this review without pointing out the thrilling climax to the film would have been ruined by Bernie Ecclestone’s double points nonsense, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

    Oh you !

    1. Bouyaaaaa! :D

      Great film by the way, I recommmend it to everyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

    2. What would have happened with double points at the last 3 races? :P

  2. The invented scene of Hunt hitting the Journalist does indeed serve a purpose by quickly getting across the issues about intrusive press coverage at the time and the friendship between Lauda. The film is afterall a dramatisation. Screenwriter Peter Morgan has precedent for such occasional creations from the excellent Frost/Nixon, where towards the film’s climax, Frost receives a midnight call from a drunken Nixon. This never actually happened at all, but it serves to make the third and final televised interview between the two men far more dramatically effective, which is what a film needs to do after all. The invention of Hunt punching the journalist is serving exactly the same purpose.

    Tried explaining this on the blog of another F1 journalist but he wasn’t having any of it!

    Rush is a fine film and in any other year would have earned a few Oscar nominations, but it has been steamrollered a little by Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.

    1. Yep kinda deceived, Brühl deserved a nomination.

      1. Yes, and some of the effects and editing was first class and should have been recognised. The finest test for Digital Effects are when you don’t initially think that what you are seeing is an effect and that is true for a lot of the shots, for example when Oulton Park becomes Mt Fuji. As fans we can spot it, but to the vast majority of cinemagoers they aren’t aware of the switch and are able to immerse themselves and enjoy the results even more.

  3. I really enjoyed the movie. Being an die-hard F1 fan myself, I really don’t understand why some people are bashing this movie. It isn’t, as Keith mentions, a documentary of the 1976 Formula One Season. It is a movie based on it. I am a heck of a lot certain that it had more similarities with actual season than Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters had to its book. Kidding!

  4. But if you thought I was going to get to the end of this review without pointing out the thrilling climax to the film would have been ruined by Bernie Ecclestone’s double points nonsense, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

    Haha! This made my day :)

    But it’s worryingly true. Plus, we also would’ve been denied the thrilling finale of ’08.

    1. You imagine if in 30 years time there is a movie on the 08 finale? :D

      I mean obviously there was nowhere near as much driver to driver off track action but Hollywood would make it work.

      Or it would end up like another Driven. Nah, I think I’ll pass on it now lol

      1. I think the way 2008 progressed would make a good base for a racing story, but you’d have to make up your own characters since I don’t think Hamilton/Massa would make good movie characters.

  5. Keith, I suspect that your loathing for the double points rule might have just increased to unprecedented levels now that Bernie has confirmed that it was created specifically to favor Ferrari. I hope that all this resentment hasn’t blinded you to the fact with the double points rule, Bernie has also indirectly admitted for the millionth time that Formula 1 would be literally NOWHERE without Ferrari.

    Actually, it’s even more extreme now, let me correct the above statement: Formula 1 would be literally NOWHERE without a WINNING Ferrari.

    1. F1 would be fine without Ferrari. So Italy wouldn’t watch, but that can only be a few million people at most.

      1. Wrong. Ferrari has the largest fan base of any sports team. Ever. Period. F1 would lose a lot more than just Italy if Ferrari left.

        1. I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. Period.

          It’s another red team that has the largest fan base, but they play football (poorly this season).

          1. A lot of people support Ferrari *because* they were winning. It’s human nature to jump on the bandwagon. Those fairweather fans will switch their allegience when it suits and if by chance Ferrari happened to go by the wayside, F1 would be just fine without it. The ‘fans’ that would be lost aren’t really fans at all.

            Personally, I think Ferrari the biggest reason as to why F1 feels like a soap opera at times as opposed to a sport discipline.

          2. @pink-peril is right. You just had to scan the crowd the Abu Dhabi GP this year and count the vast umber of RBR shirts and caps to see that fair weather fans will always just swicth to the team that is winning as and when it suits.

    2. Ferrari needs F1 at least as much, and likely more, than F1 needs Ferrari.

    3. I doubt it’s affected Keith one iota. His loathing has been consistent all along and rightly so.

  6. I finally saw it, and I for one disliked it, but I knew I was going to.
    The treatment of the rivalry between characters is boring and predictable (they look like kids at school), and for all the racing parts I could not feel any speed sensation. Just a too close sick camera shaking all the time with chaotic sounds (cannot remember a single classic onboard cam?), and speedy 15 seconds max of treatment for most races as there is two seasons to show in two hours.
    Furthermore I would have loved to see it being more technical than romance (does anyone even care about their girlfriends? I absolutely don’t), avoid bad taste with Lauda’s bandages, and a lot more. I difficultly watched it until the end.
    It surely has some well fulfilled challenges, like costumes, cars etc. but it left me really cold.

    1. does anyone even care about their girlfriends?

      I did, Alexandra Maria Lara looked great as Lauda’s wife :D

      1. Me too, and any screen time Olivia Wilde gets is time well spent!

        I also wish there was more techy stuff in the film, but at the end of the day it’s a blockbuster, not a made-for-Sky sports F1 TV movie. More people are interested in the human interest side of Hunt and Lauda’s lives than the displacement of a Cosworth DFV

        1. Yeah, the two supporting actresses were distractingly beautiful. I guess Lauda’s wife was someone important to the story since the movie implies it’s his relationship that causes him to pull out of the Japanese GP. I’m pretty sure Hunt’s divorce played some kind of character development, which I don’t recall anymore.

          I think the movie went as far as it could with technical details; the technical aspects started showing up once Lauda first started driving the F1 cars (i.e. the average person won’t know the benefits of magnesium parts, how big a 2-second-per-lap gap is, etc.) without overwhelming anyone.

          I thought Rush was well done because of the attention to detail and it was a well-balanced movie: enough romance to entice the public but enough racing for most fans of the sport. You can’t please everyone, though.

    2. Fair enough. I myself actually enjoyed the focus on the two men as people and their relationships with each other and their loved ones more than the actual racing action, which I was already pretty familiar with anyway.

    3. @spoutnik My sentiments exactly. An epic disappointment and not at all aimed at F1 fans, which is fine, by why then does Ron Howard pop up on every gridwalk and on Top Gear in the reasonably priced car and try and sell it to us? Frankly, doing that is like trying to flog a DVD of Meet the Spartans to professor of classics because it is in some minor way related to the Ancient Greeks…

      1. why then does Ron Howard pop up on every gridwalk and on Top Gear in the reasonably priced car and try and sell it to us?

        He wasn’t selling it to the long-standing ‘hardcore’ fans, he was selling it to the more casual crowd i.e. those that only tune in for 2-3 hours on a Sunday. Plus, any advertising is good advertising, especially if you’re not paying for it ;)

      2. Not this again. Just because you are an f1 fan who didnt enjoy it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t made with fans of the sport firmly in mind. Difficult for a sports film to be taken seriously if most fans of that sport loudly decry it.

  7. Can anyone answer me this, it’s been bugging me since I saw the film:

    Why did they show Francois Cevert’s fatal crash but not bother naming him? Surely if they wanted to drive home the danger and human loss aspects of F1 in the ’70s they would have been better attaching a name to the crash rather than just showing the event as a faceless pile of metal?

    F1 fans obviously mostly picked up on the fact that it was Cevert, but I don’t get the purpose of leaving the victim of the crash as just ” random driver in Watkins Glen crash” to non F1 fans if the film was at its core a human interest story.

    1. It wasn’t Cevert, it was Helmuth Koinigg. I’m not sure why they left the name out other than it being out of respect, but given that it was an accident that should never have been fatal if not for poor circuit preparation then perhaps a little more detail about it would have made the point that F1 at the time was so dangerous a little better. As a quick scene to ram that home to viewers though I guess it served it’s purpose.

      1. I take that back, reading up it appears that they decided to show a composite of the two accidents which is why there was no driver named, though the car and helmet would indicate it was Cevert.

  8. @Lewis McMurray – I did pick up on that and was a bit bemused by that myself. They may have approached the family and may have not be been allowed for some reason? Not sure why after so much time though.

    Personally I really enjoyed the movie, it was great, but took it as a movie. “Senna” was fantastic as a doco, but it still was a doco that had a biased opinion. I do agree with the opinion of course as a Senna fan but can see that Prost was preceived not fair at all stages!

    Rush was great!! But not factual as much.

    1. ***spoilers aplenty… but you’ve probably seen Senna and Rush anyway***

      Yeah the way “Senna” antagonized Prost was unfair and made Prost seem like a bad driver when Senna himself has made questionable moves, too (the one that still shocks me is his ambitious attempt at passing Brundle in F3… they showed this in the Top Gear tribute to Senna in series 15). I do, however, really like the approach that Rush took in not antagonizing either driver. You could easily see the characters antagonizing each other (i.e. Hunt calling for a vote at the Nurburgring) and you, as the viewer, can choose to pick sides, but it wasn’t traditional in that the movie wasn’t aligned against either character. In the end, I was much more empathetic towards Lauda.

      That said, I’ve only seen Rush once, but Senna I’ve seen many times over. As flawed as the Senna doc may be, it is still a great story of a legendary man. A movie I can watch several times and still has me praying for a different ending every single time…

      1. I know what you mean, as soon as the graphics came up with 1 May 1994, I started sweating and my heart started racing because I knew what was coming but I just couldn’t believe it was still actually going to happen (so to speak). It’s weird, you know the outcome but you desperately hope and pray it won’t happen.

        1. Me too, when the date came up on screen I remember thinking “there must be some people here who don’t know just how horrible what’s about to happen is”. That scene reduces grown men to tears

          1. This. The first time I saw it was with my ex, and I straight-up told her that once that weekend’s segment started, I’d need to pause it for a cigarette and pour a drink. Her cat knew how to console me, saw my stress, and curled up in my lap right after I sat down. Only thing that kept me from bawling like an infant.

      2. I am not sure if it has been made officially available but I saw a long version of Senna that had at least an extra 30 minutes of interviews with Prost and had they been included in the theatrical release it would of painted a very different picture. Prost told it like it was, the good and the bad, but one thing that he made clear was Senna and him became quite good friends. Close enough that he said Senna would often call him at night to talk. If I remember correctly Prost was quite upset when only a fraction of his interviews were in the movie especially as they were edited up to make him seem like a bit of a jerk. Its a real shame most people wont see those interviews, its always nice to hear both sides of the story, but I suppose it was expected since Senna’s family had control over the movie.

        1. @davetea All of the extra Prost interviews were included in the special edition DVD release. The producers used this, the fact that they showed Senna and Prost hugging on the podium in Australia 93, showing Prost marked with his “A for Amigo” badge at his funeral and the mention that he is a trustee of Instituto Ayrton Senna to defend themselves when accused of doing Prost a disservice. It’s all thin defence as most will never see/notice these things, but that’s their story and they are sticking to it.

  9. I must be the only F1F not to have seen Rush yet, I’ve been skeptical that Hollywood could do the story of 1976 any justice, so I’ve waited for the madness to die down to see it. As if by magic, my Blue-Ray/DVD of Rush arrived today, so I’m going to watch the film tonight to see what all the fuss is about! :)

    1. @geemac – do it mate, I was the same for a while but it is a really good watch! Enjoy :)

    2. You’re not alone, we don’t get out to movies much so I haven’t seen it yet either. Now that it’s out on dvd I may get the dvd or buy it to watch online. Looking forward to it.

      Interesting to note I have talked with a few people who know little of F1, they watched Rush in the theater and really enjoyed it. Especially interesting since this locale is such a hotbed of NASCAR fans.

    3. Right, for what it’s worth, here is my take on it!

      I think you have to watch it with two hats, the first being your F1F hat, and wearing that, you’d be disappointed. Yes there is a lot that is right about the film, but there are some very annoying “Hollywood racing movie” bits in there that I hate (like the classic “he’s going to overtake so let’s cut to a shot of his feet and the gear knob to show that he is accelerating” shot). I also find the journalist assault scene unforgivable, Hunt would never have done such a thing. Yes he hit some marshals, but he did apologise quickly when he did. There also isn’t enough focus on the cars and the racing, and skipping out the debacle that was the British GP was a bad move. In short, wearing my F1F hat was left wanting a little bit more.

      The second hat you have to wear is that of an ordinary moviegoer, looking to watch a good, well acted film with a good story. And wearing this hat, Rush is fantastic. Bruhl is simply superb as Lauda. It’s uncanny how good his voice is and he does actually resemble him a bit. He takes him off perfectly, doing his blunt but likeable character great justice. As for Hemsworth, well I thought I was just watching Thor to be honest. I don’t think he did Hunt any justice at all, he didn’t go to the same lengths as Bruhl to sound like the man he was playing (he just put on a posh English accent and off he went) and he didn’t come off as loveable as Hunt. You kept being told he was this amazing driver and great person who people where drawn to, but it never came across on screen. The plot is great, moves nicely and tells you all the main bits of the story. The film does enough to get someone casual hooked on F1, it tells you enough to get you interested and then leaves you to do the rest. The treatment of Lauda’s post accident treatment was excellent. Wearing this hat, Rush is a big win.

  10. I finally watched it for the first time the other night. I do not watch many films because I seem to lose interest, but even as I knew the outcome I was gripped throughout. I felt focusing on the drivers off the track helped to show how they were very different and how they became unlikely friends. A film on Formula 1 was never going to be highly technical and all Hollywood but as an action film it is fantastic. As a documentary on the 1976 season (which it is not), it isn’t.

    I thought it was brilliant. The extras on the DVD could have been better though…

  11. I got this movie and immediately watched it – and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not to sound incredulous, but the film reminded me of the movie Days of Thunder …yes, I said that. I thought the balance of racing and personal life was just right. There may have been some typical Hollywoodizations (for instance, the footage of the suspension piece before and while it fails), however the story is solid. As an F1 fan since only about 2007 and having read and/or heard bits and pieces of the history such as the ’76 season I found it to be a good tribute and think it holds up as being very true to life.

    At first I thought Lauda’s character was wrong, that he was speaking with a Russian accent, and perhaps Hunt was too glorified, but keeping the mindset that “this is a movie, and it’s mean to be entertaining” helped me to enjoy it without being caught up in comparing it to real life.

    …then I watched the 1996 BBC documentary “Lauda vs Hunt”; I was shocked. The character portrayal was dead on, especially from Lauda’s character. Un-freakin’ believable!

    So as a somewhat historically ignorant American F1 fan, and a fan of racing in general, this is certainly one of the best I’ve seen, especially when compared to existing documentaries showing actual footage of these people. IMHO, anyone who “hated” the film might have an irregularly shaped fibrous object jammed into their nether regions and may wish to seek immediate treatment for said affliction.

    1. What did you think of Lauda’s monologue in the last scene? Some folk I know thought it was a bit overblown but I absolutely loved it, as well as the snippets of footage of the real Hunt and Lauda

  12. Can Anyone that has bought the DVD or BR confirm the subtitles options? Thanks.

  13. I bought the Film without previous watching it (and crossing my fingers). I thought it lacked enough racing scenes for to put it with Le Mans, or Grand Prix, in my mind (obviously though, those to movies are in a very niche market). And I thought the ‘rivalry’ between Lauda and Hunt was fairly pumped up for dramatic purposes. However, I thought it was an overall enjoyable movie and would recommend it. Furthermore, what I think is best about this movie is that due to its popularity, iTunes made the Official 1976 F1 Season Review availiable – and that I really enjoyed!

  14. Just watched the film this evening. Obviously my expectations where high, but already after 20 minutes or so I was a bit bored. Then about halfway, the film came alive and I enjoyed it more. It was certainly worth watching, but I probably won’t re-watch it, like I sometimes do with my favorite ones. Anyway .. I give it a 3 out of 5.

  15. SO excited ! My mrs bought me a copy for my birthday (tomorrow) and even though I was there and saw her buy it, I’m not allowed it til the morning! :(

  16. No Hollywood film is going to satisfy everyone. I watched it in the cinema – well, half of it! Someone in the audience had a medical emergency, the film was stopped for the paramedics and then the rest was cancelled due to time limitations re the next showing……….
    So, I got the DVD last week and watched it all the way through. I have followed F1 since I was a kid in the 1950s. I watched the 76 season on TV (although sadly in black and white). These days my annual treat is a long weekend at Spa, so I suppose I’m reasonably well qualified to comment. I LOVED IT. What’s more, so did my wife and three children. Modern day F1 (although much safer) is nothing like as spectacular, gritty, noisy, smelly and close up. But, it’s still a wonderful sport and this film will spread the love of it.

  17. It arrived in the mail about 37hrs ago and I’ve already seen it twice, (after going the first night I had off when released). I actually enjoyed the journalist assault scene because I thought it de-emphasized the Hollywood-ization of the rivalry, but as a filmgoer, the tifosi ride still makes me laugh madly. My bar was set low, Driven is IMHO, the worst movie ever made and I expected the same out of Rush. Because I expected junk, Rush blew my mind. It’s now in my top five favorite films.

    The racing? As good as can be hoped for Hollywood, I just wished they had a podium scene at Fuji because as an American who was born in 1983, I’ve never seen a countryman, even a naturalized one, atop the podium. Every time I saw that silver and red helmet, my eyes lit up.

  18. Saw the film the day it opened in the theater this past summer and enjoyed it very much. Got the DVD yesterday and was disappointed with one aspect – the music sound track is so LOUD that it was impossible to hear the dialog for most of the movie. I don’t recall this being a problem in the theater but it almost ruined the DVD for me. The sound track is not the strong point of the movie so I can not understand why it is so over the top in the DVD. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to reduce the music volume (without lowering the dialog) or increase the dialog volume (without increasing the music tracks). Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon ?

  19. I keep reading about how un-technical the movie is, but it was the technical subtleties that caught my attention, and took me from knowing ZERO about F1 to researching the sport and digging deep into videos and articles about testing in Jerez/all the 2014 changes. A few quick examples… First was the bit about magnesium parts and Lauda getting the car to go two seconds quicker around the track. A bit later I remember a quick cut scene in (Brazil?) Where they were dumping ice on the cars’ tires, and I was like “woah, so that’s a thing.” And then, the bit where Hunt’s team has to redesign the car on account of it being half an inch too wide, and the scene cuts away with them talking about how they’re going to have to rearrange everything in the car – my brother and I looked at each other like “SERIOUSLY?? Jeez these machines are are wild!”
    Add stuff like that to racing scenes, big bass, and a killer storyline, and I was hooked.
    It’s a shame it didn’t get an Oscar, but at least it got me into F1, haha.

  20. The funniest part was when they had words on the grid at Intelagos then James had a dance with the sexy grid girls and Nikki gave the look as if “James, I am about to risk my life at 20%, not 1% more, this is no time for a gig!!”……………. a different pre-race approach I guess :)

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