Rush, out this week on DVD & Blu-ray

'In his version of events, each and every character speaks like a race commentator, clarifying events as they happen and saying things like "Ready? I've been waiting for this my whole life..."'


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What makes a film British? It's a question that rolls around every January as Bafta's annual nominations spill out of the gate, and their definition of "homegrown" becomes ever broader. This year, all manner of foreign co-productions have made the cut, despite settings as far-flung as South Africa (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Disneyland (Saving Mr. Banks) and outer space (Gravity). Next month, they'll compete for the title of outstanding British film, alongside unarguably local offering The Selfish Giant (which is also out on DVD this week), and Rush, a film with German backing, an American director, Australian and Spanish-born German leads, and a whopping 16-country setting.

The chief British link in Rush's globetrotting chain is Peter Morgan, the screenwriter behind such prosaic historical reenactments as Frost/Nixon, The Queen and The Damned United. Here, he puts his knack for writing about famous people doing famous things to familiar use, with the story of the legendary rivalry between British Formula One driver James Hunt and his Austrian adversary Niki Lauda. As the warring pair, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are on career-best form, but they spend more time doing battle with Morgan's script than with each other. In his version of events, each and every character speaks like a race commentator, clarifying events as they happen and saying things like "Ready? I've been waiting for this my whole life..." with no visible degree of irony.

The film's most impressive quality, on the other hand, is a distinctly foreign import. Where most British versions of the story would cast Hunt as the cocky, good-looking hero, and Lauda as his snivelling pantomime foil, Rush shares its sympathies out equally between the two. And who knows, if we're willing to claim that as a multinational somehow British achievement, maybe we can pass off Peter Morgan as a multinational failure in exchange.

StudioCanal, Blu-ray & DVD

Also out this week

Sunshine On Leith Peter Mullan leads a love song to the Scottish district

The Call Halle Berry picks up in this kidnap thriller

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones Critically panned demon slaying

Contributor

Charlie Lyne

The GuardianTramp

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