Films about racing cars and racing car drivers have not in the past really lived up to expectations. Le Mans for example was a good film but appealed really to racing car enthusiasts though I do recall the excitement when the minis raced at Le Mans. Anther film that I vaguely remember is Grand Prix.
However Rush is I think rather different. Yesterday mrs maytrees who has no interest at all in motor racing and I went to the HMVCurzon cinema in Wimbledon to see Rush. The recent almost collapse of HMV rendered the future of the HMVCurzon on the 3rd floor of the Wimbledon HMV store questionable. For a time one was not able to use a credit card to pay for viewing a film or for drinks in the bar, as the HMV arrangement with VISA etc had been suspended but the cinema announced that it would continue even if HMV sank. Yet both have survived so far and credit card use is restored..
The fact that previous racing car films may not have appealed to a wide audience probably explained why there were only half a dozen viewers of Rush in the cinema yesterday afternoon though I gather that another film there was a sell out.
Despite the absence of a large audience the film was absorbing, exciting and kept us both riveted for the whole of its 2 hour length. The plot concerned the true life rivalry between formula 1 racing car drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt in the 1970s climaxing with their race in the 1976 Grand Prix. Niki Lauda had led the field for most of the 1976 season but had a dreadful crash during a race when he was almost killed in bad weather. The drivers had at his request been arguing about whether to call off that race owing to dreadful stormy weather conditions but the rivalry between the two men led to James Hunt's campaign to run the race in opposition to Nikki Lauda's attempt to have it called off succeeding. Nikki crashed and was almost burnt alive but came back to race in the last race of the season which would determine the championship overall.
Meanwhile the two men's love lives were also played out brilliantly. James Hunt who I recall being a member of the same squash club as I in Sutton years ago, was an extrovert and his wife who he put off time and time again with his love for racing cars seemed eventually to have more interest in Richard Burton than in James Hunt. Niki Lauda on the other hand was far less emotional and extroverted than his rival. However he too put motor racing first which was really hard for his wife. Yet she played what appeared to me to be an amazing role following his near death and in the final race...
A great film which deserves to be far better viewed than the handful present yesterday afternoon.