Ron Howard always strikes me as a dependable albeit safe director. He always seems to produce quality products but that’s just the thing- they always feel like products. I never feel touched by them, there never seems to be any personality or true heart. Maybe I’m being a little unfair, but looking at much of his list of films, Frost/Nixon, The DaVinci Code, The Missing, Ransom, Apollo 13, Far and Away… they are just too safe, too mainstream, too competent. No doubt the studios love working with him. They always know exactly what they are going to get. Competent. That’s a Ron Howard movie.
Rush may be one of his better efforts but it suffers from the same faults as so many of his other films. Maybe its just me, but was anybody else infuriated by the slap-in-the-face race commentaries in this film? Talk about over-explaining everything, it almost felt like an enforced audio-description. Why treat us so much like idiots? Surely it would have been better to just have the visuals and the sound and the editing do their thing, offer a pure-cinema experience, instead? Let us figure out what’s going on, we’re not all idiots.
I have a problem with the ‘look’ of the film too. Rush is one ugly movie. Its horribly desaturated and muddy, its a ‘look’ that quite a few films have and I really don’t like it. It looks as though the image was severely messed-about with in post-production, likely to push the period-feel of the piece. Frankly, thats a bizarre approach for a film set in the 1970s; I don’t think it was necessary and I certainly don’t think it works, it distracted me throughout. The 70s just didn’t look like that; if anything everything was bolder, brighter, more in-your-face back then. Surely everything should ‘pop’, in your face more? Almost 3D even. The only thing I can imagine is that it was part of getting the visual effects to work and gel with the stock race footage. I’ve read that we Brits have suffered from a poor Blu-ray encode so maybe thats it, but goodness me its ugly.
So not a bad film at all, but annoyingly pedestrian, aiming at the lowest denominator, I feel. Imagine what a director like Paul Thomas Anderson might have done with a film like this (and he’s no stranger to a 1970s-set movie himself). That’s what frustrates me about films like this. So its ok but little more.
And good God its ugly. This could likely be the ugliest film I see all year.