Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Times:
Mr. Howard doesn't just want you to crawl inside a Formula One racecar, he also wants you to crawl inside its driver's head.
New York Post:
Fine filmmaking, a smart, visually engorged, frequently thrilling tale of boyish competition - inspired by a true story. At heart it's "Amadeus" on wheels, only this time Salieri is the Austrian.
Wall Street Journal:
Working from a very clever script by Peter Morgan ("The Queen"), Mr. Howard doesn't pick sides. He lets two distinctly abrasive characters rub up against his viewers, chafing them into gear.
Mostly a lot of noise and nonsense, a garish enterprise that almost - though not quite - trivializes the tale.
Not just one of the great racing movies of all time, but a virtuoso feat of filmmaking in its own right, elevated by two of the year's most compelling performances.
Rush is basically a foursquare sports film, enlivened by whiplash-inducing, crisply edited racing sequences but otherwise pretty ordinary.
Hemsworth and Bruhl are outstanding. Their story is what drives the movie, two men different in every way except for their unyielding desire to win.
In a way, "Rush" is a philosophical drama about the varying ways men move through the world. It's just a really fast drama.
This is entertaining enough, but ultimately it's spuriously triumphant Oscar-baiting fluff.
"Rush," while never dull, rarely feels dramatically alive; it hits its marks dutifully and darts onward.
Christian Science Monitor:
Rush isn't bad, exactly, but it's like a standard-issue male action programmer that somehow crept in from an earlier era.
This is a deeply adult drama, not least because Howard shows the costs of being so driven in a sport in which a driver is encased in a potential fireball.
One thing's for sure with this film: You carry the "Rush" out of the theater.
Rush hits a few potholes, but in the end it reveals the psyches of two men who only feel alive when they're cheating death.
The rare sports movie that's compelling as both a drama and a spectacle.
The script is another Peter Morgan special. Like, say, The Queen and Frost/Nixon, it's a speculative duet built around a moment of newsworthiness.
The lead actors shine in an engaging look at the two fierce rivals who battled it out for the Formula One championship in 1976.
Los Angeles Times:
Despite its strengths, the telling of this counterintuitive tale about the mysterious ways cutthroat competition can enrich lives never manages to be completely convincing.
San Jose Mercury News:
You spend at least half the movie on the edge of your seat, and not just because you're rooting for someone to win or lose.
"Rush" is the kind of Hollywood studio production that has sadly become all too rare - a smart, exciting, R-rated entertainment for grown-ups that quickens your pulse and puts on a great show.
In another movie, either of these men -- the arrogant hunk, the frozen robot -- might have been our villain. But screenwriter Peter Morgan ("Frost/Nixon") has a deeper insight.
If you don't already know the story of that season, lucky you; even now, it exerts a ridiculous thrill.
Howard keeps his cameras small and all over the cars, to show us dazzling machinery in motion, the ground whizzing by in a blur underneath. Playing to his own strengths, though, he keeps this a movie about character.
Howard chooses a few moments to let the film breathe, but for the most part - aside from a clunky first-person narration that book-ends the film - he propels Rush from scene to scene with a momentum that never lets the thing drag.
Orange County Register:
Stripped-down characters and skeletal dramaturgy limit this movie about the real-life Formula 1 racing rivalry of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, but harrowing track scenes and an affecting second half provide some vivid compensation.
Rush has an elemental simplicity about it. Two men in competition, driven (so to speak) to win. They are enemies. But they need each other, too, and as they roll around at 170 m.p.h., they come to understand why.
Rush not only effectively presents a balanced view of the rivalry between two race car drivers but manages the difficult task of taking Formula One racing, an inherently non-cinematic sport, and translating it to the screen.
'Rush' ranks among the best movies about auto racing ever made, featuring two great performances from the leads.
As cars spin and shimmer in the rain at the climactic and astounding Grand Prix in Japan, we never lose sight of what's human and striving behind the wheel.
I've seen Bruhl in several German-language films, and I'm not surprised that he's perfect as the monomaniacal Lauda, but Hemsworth is the revelation here.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Howard proves that directing action is one of his underrated strengths. The racing scenes are dynamic and easy to follow, with a sheen that brings the 1970s into sharp relief.
Rush is an outsize Hollywood spectacle about two outsize personalities in conflict, a sleekly assembled thrill machine that makes up in excitement for what it lacks in nuance.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The on-track action is blistering, the filmmaking sure-footed (even as cars fishtail into catastrophic crashes), the characters bigger than life.
Rush is not a particularly deep film. But more importantly, it is not a film that mistakes itself for deep. And this self-knowledge makes Rush, in some ways, a wiser film than many that aspire to loftier goals.
Globe and Mail:
An entertaining movie with two solid performances that only occasionally stalls because of its sometimes heavy-handed treatment of Hunt and Lauda's differences.
This is no mere thrill ride by two real-life rival speedsters, although it is certainly that. The film also provides a sobering look at what it takes to be a true champion.
An exhilarating surprise from a director who's been playing it safe for most of his career. Like his heroes, he takes a risk and wins.
These are classic frenemies; their tale deserves more gas in the tank.
Brilliantly captures the exhilaration that comes from facing death head-on. It's also an ode to joyous rivalry.
Anyone who can get to the theater on two legs, or four wheels, should see it on the big screen.
Considering the subject matter, Rush delivers the expected visceral jolts; what's surprising is how endearing it is, even when its two protagonists are behaving like little more than boys with very fast toys.