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Rush 2013 ****

Somehow lost in the awards shuffle, Ron Howard fashioned an excellent sports picture from a Peter Morgan script. Morgan’s usual balancing out of two competing characters (Frost Nixon, The Other Boylen Girl, The Queen) is well suited to the sporting rivalry and one-upmanship between James Hunt and Nikki Lauda, two iconic figures brought vividly to life by Liam Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. Hunt’s playboy lifestyle is captured with affection, losing out in love to an off-screen Richard Burton. Lauda broods, despite the affections of Olivia Wilde, and overcomes incredible odd to maintain his alpha male battle to the end. Few directors can marry character and plot as deftly with Howard, offering the same verisimilitude as with Apollo 13, Backdraft and A Beautiful Mind.

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