The title is the only word I’ll be able to write that will do this film justice, so Rush Rush Rush.
Ron Howard created an immersive story space and believable tone through a collection of rapidly cut gorgeous reaction shots. These reaction shots were at work for the story of the film, not a specific character, setting, or car. These reaction shots draw in more characters then the story has actually introduced. Moreover these shots give the cars that fueled the rivalry characteristics of their own. In these shots you don’t see cars, what is shown is their personalities. It seems even in these cars, made of some metal rubber and fuel the rivalry burns. The engines scream at each other before the start, the tires squeal on the corners, and the drivers continue the screaming after the race. However Mr. Howard did do more with his director cap than personifying inanimate objects. He brought life to the cast that filled up the background, the extras.
Within the major race scenes of this film a multitude of spectator reaction shots were intercut with the actual race day events. This brought a terrific atmosphere to this picture being painted for the viewer of the race days. This decision of close up audience reaction shots made the subject feel naturally close standing near you, are you at the race? These techniques provoke you to be more invested in the race by time the race has started. This is because you have just been exploring the race day, and waiting with the audience for the last hand full of minutes. Now with the investment of your time you can feel completely immersed in the race because the film reminded their audience of the beautiful voyeurism of audiences. Most often people are drawn to what the surrounding population is drawn to, Howard is very aware of this. By having every attendee that is cut to drawn to this race we become drawn to the race. All of these things happen before the races even start but only represent a fraction of the film. However with these short instances the story is able build anticipation, and take hold. This doesn’t exist in the majority of the film rather just in the moments that are building to next awaited milestone event.
What does exist the entire film is rivalry, and what comes with rivalry driven films is the montage. To build up the severity of the rivalry the viewer must see how badly both sides want “it”, whatever it may be. This inevitably will lead to some sort of montage training sequence, which is a great way to rely a lot of information at once. However it is tricky for montage to be executed without a cliché feeling at this point in cinema history. Rush had me fall in love with montages all over again, but a new, changed montage that I have reaccepted into my life. Ron Howard shows how the montage can work for the filmmaker while being coherent, sexy and a Rush for the viewers. I see this film as a truly astounding step in contemporary filmmaking and representation of how far the human nature is willing to go, subject or director.