With Ron Howard behind the camera and Peter Morgan on script duty I was expecting something a bit dreary with a heavy-handed message about living fast and dying young, and while things get off to a dodgy start with the clunky voiceover that unfortunately returns at the end, Rush tells its story amiably and is actually quite a bit of fun. Sure, there one too many dates and locations speeding across the screen than I would've liked - IT'S ABOUT DRIVING FAST, GUYS - but that's easy to put up with when everything else is as good as it is.
Obviously, like all movie biopics, some liberties are taken with story and information (Did you know the rivals were once flatmates? Because the film doesn't tell you.) but as far as performances go all the pressure was and is on Hemsworth. At 30 he's done more than OK for himself but unless he's happy living off the notoriety of being an old timey-speaking Norse God with a Point Break hairdo he had to show he could a) act, and b) carry a film as the lone star that wasn't produced by Marvel, and while James Hunt may seem like an easy character to play before this I wondered if Hemsworth was going to join the 'Actors Who Should Be Movie Stars But Have No Charisma' club currently populated by Armie Hammer, Jeremy Renner and Sam Worthington. Mercifully he doesn't, and not only does he nail the British accent bar one scene where he slips back into Aussie, he carefully portrays all sides of Hunt's personality that made him such a star.
Rush never veers too far away from formula and bar the horrific crash scene that left Lauder in such a state they had a priest read him the last rites, it's pretty light fare, but even so it's far more enjoyable and engaging than it has any right to be.