Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film, although the last time it was seen on the big screen was in the 1952 movie starring Olivia De Havilland and Richard Burton. So a new film version isn't a terrible idea, bringing some modern sensibilities to the 19th century tale of obsession and intrigue. It's just a shame that this version, while gorgeous to look at, never quite manages to generate the momentum needed to involve the audience.
It's set in the early 1800s, when Philip (Sam Claflin) has inherited a Cornish farm from his cousin, who died in Italy where he lived with his wife Rachel (Rachel Weisz). Philip is nervous about meeting Rachel, but he's instantly smitten with her dark charm. His godfather Kendall (Iain Glen) warns him to be careful, and Kendall's daughter Louise (Holliday Grainger) is even more horrified by this development, because she has always had a crush on Philip. But as Philip becomes increasingly focussed on Rachel, he offers to give her the farm to prove his love. The question of course is whether she is really in love with him.
Continue reading: My Cousin Rachel Review
Exhilarating racing action punctuates this true story, which sharply traces the rivalry between two Formula One champs. It's superbly well-shot and edited, with engaging performances from the entire cast. And with only one moment of calculated sentimentality, it's director Ron Howard's most honest movie in years.
The story begins in the early 1970s, when two rising-star F1 drivers clash over their very different styles. Britain's James Hunt (Hemsworth) is a swaggering womaniser, revelling in the rock-star lifestyle. By contrast, Austria's Niki Lauda (Bruhl) is a fiercely detailed technician who loves pushing barriers. They clearly see things they like in each other, so their different approaches on the track develop into a competitive relationship that spurs them to the front of the pack. Over the years, both meet their wives (Wilde and Lara, respectively) and move from team to team as they rise to the top of their sport. And their rivalry comes to a head at the 1976 German Grand Prix when world champion Lauda is involved in a horrific, fiery accident.
Morgan's script is essentially two biopics cleverly woven together to let us see the push and pull between these two iconic figures. Unexpectedly, Bruhl's Lauda emerges as the stronger character, with his grounded approach and sardonic wit allowing Bruhl to play effectively with submerged emotions. By contrast, Hemsworth's Hunt is little more than a gifted good-time boy who isn't worried about his lack of substance. It's a likeable, loose performance (we barely notice the wobbly British accent). Opposite them Lara and Wilde provide solid, subtle support, as do the fine actors who fill out the pit crews.
Continue reading: Rush Review
James Hunt is English Formula 1 champion well-known for his hedonistic life of women, alcohol and parties and who makes for a stark contrast to his number one rival, the Austrian Niki Lauda. It's the 70s, the golden age for racing, and the pair are riled up to outrun each other in the upcoming 1976 German Grand Prix. However, no-one could predict the tragedy that would soon ensue when Lauda's car fails and bursts into flames on the track, causing him severe burns to his face and body. Hunt blames himself for the accident, as he helped encourage the race to go ahead without the suggested safety arrangements. In spite of all this, the pair are determined to become champions, against all odds but as the professional lives interrupts their personal lives, becoming a champion becomes much more complicated than just winning a race.
'Rush' is a sports drama based on the shocking true story of these two real F1 drivers when their lives took a dramatic turn at the height of car racing. It has been directed by Ron Howard ('Willow', 'Apollo 13', 'The Da Vinci Code') and written by Peter Morgan ('The Queen', 'The Other Boleyn Girl', 'The Last King of Scotland'), and it is set for release this autumn on September 13th 2013.
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