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 The early cash crisis forced screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen), who came up aces with Howard on Frost/Nixon, to structure the script as the scariest thing known to Hollywood bottom-liners: a character study. Two rivals, Brit playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and by-the-book Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), would engage in a hardcore war of psyches. As it turns out, Howard's relatively low $30 million budget did allow Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire) to shoot a series of racing sequences. And they're killer. But it's Morgan's core script, full of humor, heartache and verbal fireworks, that lifts Rush above the Fast & Furious herd.

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