We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
There comes a time in every critic's life when you find yourself going against the tide of opinion, set adrift by your inability to appreciate something everyone else is gaga for. It is a very different feeling than liking something everyone else despises. But as I gaze upon the 90% positive or so rating on Rotten Tomatoes, all I can do is take a deep breath and say, "My name is Susan and I am a 'Rush' disliker."
Not a hater, mind you. No movie featuring either one of those musclebound Aussie skyscrapers known as the Hemsworth brothers (this one has Chris, a.k.a. Thor, not Liam a.k.a Miley Cyrus' ex) can be all bad. I do admire a good car chase, whether in “Smokey and the Bandit” or in the original “The Fast and the Furious," and my double-digit viewings of “Slap Shot” and “North Dallas Forty” attest to my fascination with sports films—but only if the off-field play between characters is as compelling as the contest on the field. In the case of "Rush" it was immediately apparent that there was a slick formulaic surface clinging to this cinematic road trip. And for me, that was a turnoff.
"Rush" is based on the true story of Formula One adversaries James Hunt, a swaggering rock-star-bad-boy Brit, and Niki Lauda, a tersely pragmatic Austrian with zero social skills and an itchy middle finger, as they vied for the 1976 world championship title. If you know anything about these two not-quite-gentlemen, it's that one them will be sorely tested when tragedy strikes at speeds close to 200 mph. Much praise already has been heaped upon director Ron Howard—no stranger to car-themed movies as both a filmmaker ("Grand Theft Auto" ) and an actor ("American Graffiti")—for striving to capture the visceral thrill of the sport.
But I found "Rush" to suffer the same problem as most race-track movies, even if measures have been taken to give the audience a behind-the wheel point-of-view. As physically intense as racing might be, cinematically it's tough to portray as anything but repetitious. What's onscreen is a bunch of helmeted drivers in cramped vehicles chasing each other in circles with a few hairpin turns tossed in until the finish line looms—and, unlike real life, the results have already been determined.