Screening Notes – ‘Rush’ (2013, Ron Howard)

“It’s the enemy you know. Happiness. It puts doubt in your mind. Because all of a sudden you have something to lose.”
The remarkable race for the 1976 Formula 1 Championship is brought thrillingly to life in this colourful dramatisation of the battle between two drivers with contrasting personalities. Niki Lauda, impressively played by German actor Daniel Bruhl, is the dour pragmatist who adopts a tactical approach to racing and designs his own cars. Australian beefcake Chris Hemsworth is Peter Hunt, the dashing English playboy with a reckless streak. Rush recreates an era when Formula 1 was potentially lethal. For one of these men a rainy day towards the end of the 76′ season will have a profound effect on their life.

Ron Howard – Career Highlights
Though one of the most successful and versatile directors in Hollywood Ron Howard will always be best known for playing Richie Cunningham on the long-running sitcom Happy Days (1974-84). Born into a showbiz family, Howard appeared in countless TV shows as a youngster as did his brother Clint who some may remember as the blonde kid who befriends a Grizzly bear in Gentle Ben. Howard began directing under the tutelage of B-movie king Roger Corman who produced his first movie Grand Theft Auto (77). The comedy Night Shift (82) was a modest success but Howard’s next two films, Splash (84) with Tom Hanks falling in love with a mermaid and Cocoon (85) about a group of OAP’s given a second lease of life after an encounter with alien life-forms, were massive box-office hits. Sword and sorcery epic Willow(88) remains a favourite with 80’s kids. Parenthood (89) is a funny and wistful comedy about family life which makes great use of a young Keanu Reeves.

Backdraft (91) an exhilarating drama about fire-fighters in Chicago shows Howard developing an interest in stories about people working in high stress environments. The highly acclaimed Apollo 13 (95) is Howard’s first film based on real life events. Gripping thriller Ransom (96) casts swivel-eyed lunatic Mel Gibson as a businessman turning the tables on the kidnappers holding his son hostage. Howard won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind (2001), starring Crowe as a mathematician struggling to cope with schizophrenia. Crowe again starred in the underrated Cinderella Man (05) as Depression era heavyweight boxer Jim Braddock. Huge box-office returns for The Da Vinci Code (06) and its sequel Angels and Demons (09) but neither film pleased the critics. Frost/Nixon (08) about the events leading up to President Nixon’s confession of perjury live on television marked Howard’s first collaboration with Rush screenwriter Peter Morgan. Howard also narrated the cult TV comedy Arrested Development and appears in the final season as a comic version of himself. 

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