No secrets here. I’ve been waiting for this movie for a long time. Ever since I saw the trailer I’ve been eagerly anticipating the movie. And while I am going to talk about (even mini review) the film, there’s more to be taught here so stick with me.

First of all, one of the reasons I got into bird photography was that it’s hard. I like challenges. And photographing fast-moving objects is difficult. Making a movie about them – well that’s REALLY difficult. Mr. Howard’s cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle, did a magnificent job. The movie should be seen at least twice, and one of those times should be just to study the camera angles, movement, etc. You can learn a bunch (even as a stills photographer) by watching how Mantle translated Howard’s vision and put this movie together.

But you can learn even more by watching the movie for the story. (Now here comes the mini review.) I was prepared, even pre-biased to love this movie. I can’t say that from the perspective of purely a movie goer I thought it was the greatest. It was very good, but as a moviegoer without an interest in motorsports, I might have found it a bit slow. There were parts of it that were great, like the cinematography, but the story was slow and a little self-indulgent. The movie is too long by at least 15 minutes. That 15 minutes is us being subjected to the plot line that accurately defines James Hunt (former Formula One Champion) as a party boy and Niki Lauda (another former Formula One Champion) as a staunch, conservative, no-nonsense race car driver. That point could have been made in five minutes not 20.

Otherwise, the movie is very good and very gripping. I guess I am biased but I wanted to see even MORE of the racing sequences. I am glad that the rivalry (both friendly and unfriendly) between Lauda and Hunt was explored. It shows that sometimes even an enemy can be a great motivator to succeed.

As far as the racing goes, if you want to see what it’s like to race Formula One, this is about as close as you can get without being in the car. As a race fan, amateur racing car driver, and racing team owner, I was fascinated by the racing sequences. And while studying things like the race line (the racer in me) and the light, the camera angle, etc. (the photographer in me), I noticed something else. The story DID work when it came to teaching us about passion.

And here’s the BIG lesson for photographers. The champions – the winners – the top of the heap – they all have one thing in common – passion. They have gobs of it. It oozes out of their very skin. If you want to look at a story about passion – watch Rush. These guys put their lives on the line every time they got in a race car. It’s not that they were fearless. They were not. Only an insane person wouldn’t be afraid when racing 200 mph a few inches from another insane person doing the same thing. But they overcame their fear and it was their passion that helped them do that.

When photographers make images with that kind of passion – a passion that recognizes that EACH and EVERY second counts – I mean really counts – then the resulting photographs – like a Formula One race – can take our breaths away.

Go see Rush. It will entertain you – even if you aren’t a petrol head. But it will also make you a better photographer, if you can find the same sort of passion behind a camera that Hunt and Lauda found behind the wheel.


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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to see this movie. People just don’t realize how dangerous motor racing was decades ago. While I was in Maine last week I photographed a 57′ Lotus Mrk XI that was racing the Mille Miglia when the gas tank split and doused the driver with gas. He finished the race.

    Another film I would highly recommend is “Into the Mind”, a stunning film shot in part by Jimmy Chin, my favorite mountain climbing photographer. It is also on iTunes this month.

    Jamie Z

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I was honoured to be a part of the promotional stills for this movie. I was digital tech/lighting assistant for Jaap Buitendijk for the two days where we built a twin side by side studio in one of the London sets to create the promotional posters.

    It was an awesome experience, and Jaap is a legend.

    I totally agree with you on how the movie is perfect in its cinematography. there isn’t a shot that is out of place, even in the slightest.

    here is to Ron Howards next masterpiece. I cannot wait.

  3. Great insight!


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