What Is the Movie "Rush" About?

by Daniel Fox

"Rush" tells the story of two narcotics agents who become addicts while undercover.

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"Rush" is a 1991 film directed by Lili Fini Zanuck. Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as Jim Raynor and Kristen Cates, two Texas undercover narcotics agents. They become embroiled in the drug underworld in pursuit of a major figure named Will Gaines, played by Gregg Allman of musical fame. Along the way, Raynor and Cates become addicts themselves. The film also stars Sam Elliott as Dodd, the agents' only contact within the police force.

New Partner

Jim recruits Kristen to be his new partner. As they begin working together, his biggest concern is how convincing she will be to drug dealers and others as a legitimate user. He educates her on the idiosyncrasies of the world she is about to enter. Their mission is to collect as many cases as they can on people who sell to them. They do not arrest anyone; they simply deliver case files to Dodd after buys. The big goal is to eventually nab Gaines, and then all the others will be arrested as well.


Jim and Kristen pose as a couple who are interested in scoring drugs. The two actually do become involved romantically not long after they begin working together. One night on a particular buy, a dealer forces them to use heroin. They both become addicted. They continue to pursue Will Gaines, only now they do so as heavy users. Their days and nights become a cycle of chasing Gaines and the drugs they now use.


Dodd reports to his superior, Nettle, who is obsessed with arresting and convicting Gaines. Dodd learns of the drug problems the agents have been battling. The three of them meet with Nettles and he alludes to the fact that he wants them to use any means necessary to arrest Gaines. Up until that point, Gaines had refused to sell to them and they did not see any way they could bust him. Nettles also implies that they have no choice in the matter. If they refuse to, or cannot, arrest Gaines, Nettles will turn them in for ongoing use of narcotics.

Gray Area

"Rush" navigates the terrain located where the law and crime overlap and even mesh. A common theme of crime dramas is the bond felt between the cop and the criminal, the idea that one cannot exist without the other. "Rush" explores the lives of two characters who lose perspective on the lines that do or do not divide the two sides. "Rush" is a film about two individuals who struggle to fight their way back from an existence they didn't foresee inhabiting, all the while examining the apparent futility of the fight they originally embarked upon.

About the Author

A novelist and essayist, Daniel Fox has been writing since 1996. His work has appeared in various international periodicals. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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