Fast cars impress me as much as an ATM machine. Having watched the linearity and reverence with which Bollywood directors make biopics, I have been put off by many of them. Hence, despite having two acclaimed actors in Matt Damon and Christian Bale as the lead pair and James Mangold as director my expectations weren’t high. I love the personality of another biopic styled racing film in “Rush”. Could it be two in two?
The answer, in short, is yes. The fast cars, the gung ho attitude, the slick cuts, and enthralling races are all there. But there is so much more on offer. There is an aching Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) trying to find a new purpose in life after having retired. Christian Bale’s Ken Miles is brilliant but blunt. Shelby understands the corporate game better than Miles and adheres to it to achieve his personal goals. But when he is told that his racing days are overdue to health issues, he sees his friend Miles as a way of reliving that experience.
Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) sets out to readdress the slump in sales of automobiles. But after being ridiculed by Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) for being simply an inheritor, he seeks revenge. The coldest of which would be to take away the title at Le Mans race. Carroll Shelby is hired and he ropes in Miles, because he is the best in the business.
There are plenty of conflicts here. Ford executives are cold-blooded businessmen. In between somewhere is Henry Ford II, jostling mentally as being the savvy entrepreneur and a rich man with a bloody nose seeking vengeance. Both Shelby and Miles are passionate petrol heads and best of friends. But Shelby is tamable, Miles isn’t. This causes conflicts which run through the film. The banter between them is pleasing as it is engaging. In the corporate ‘suits’ you get someone to hate.
The loving relationship between Miles and wife Mollie (Caitriona Balf) offers another dimension to the film. She is having a hard time paying the bills but is also aware that not racing will kill the man she loves. Balf gets a few quality scenes and makes a real impact. As does Noah Jupe as Peter Miles. The wide-eyed, loving son adores his father. In some ways, his father is living his dream too. The relationship is strong and fragile at the same time. The boy understands the risks his father is taking. So there is anxiety and there is cheerfulness at the same time.
Each character is feisty at times and submissive otherwise. One cannot predict where this lap will take us next. James Mangold portrays all these of emotion vigorously. Along with everything you associate with racing car films. The continuity issues in shooting they would have faced during shooting the racing sequences and the final product we saw, show us how efficiently they team has worked.
So, this lap is perfect for one and all.