When is comes to film, the best true stories are those that not many people know about going in. Films that introduce the world to a whole new story that has been there waiting for them the whole time and Ford v Ferrari is a perfect example of that. Also known as Le Mans ‘66, Ford v Ferrari takes intertwines the lives of several people in the most exciting way possible. After seeing the domination by Ferrari in the world of racing and a couple shots fired directly at his ego. Henry Ford II decides to dip into the racing world and vows to win the prestigious 24 hour race, Le Man.
” You’re gonna build a car to beat Ferrari with… a Ford.”
Directed by James Mangold (Logan, 3:10 To Yuma), Ford v Ferrari stars Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby. Shelby is the man Ford puts in charge of creating this racecar that will win him Le Man. Starring alongside Damon is Christian Bale as Ken Miles. Miles, a hot headed British family man who also just happens to have an affinity for racing. Shelby and Miles must work together to make the best car possible. Sadly their biggest hurdle is the Ford Executives themselves.
Both Bale and Damon have been getting some Oscar buzz this year and based on this film that buzz is warranted. Ken Miles may come off as an irresponsible man with anger issues to start. But he becomes the most sympathetic character in the film due to Bale’s wonderful performance. Ever race he is in leaves you on the edge of your seat. Damon, on the other hand, plays a more grounded and confident character in Carroll Shelby. Damon does a great job of working as the foil for Bale and the two have some great chemistry throughout the film which reaches its peak during one of the most entertaining fights scenes in a movie this year.
” We’re lighter, we’re faster, and if that don’t work, we’re nastier.”
Another great aspect of Ford v Ferrari is the directing by James Mangold. Mangold has always been great with characters in his stories by making them all empathetic. Not only is he great with his characters, Mangold also has done some thrilling action set pieces and that stays true in this film. On paper, making a 24 race exciting sounds like a nightmare, but Mangold pulls it off with ease. He throws us on the track and in the race with this frantic energy that not only helps move the characters story forward but also makes you feel like you are right there beside them hitting those 7000 rpms.
The score was another aspect of the film that stood out and helped bring this story to life. Composed by Marco Beltrami, the music perfectly complemented the film while never being too much or taking over. Another technical aspect that deserves some credit is the cinematography from Phedon Papamichael. There were so many examples of shots that could be used as a screensaver or a painting on a wall. He was given the challenge of having to light a race that takes place at literally every time of day and he pulled it off wonderfully.
” It isn’t about speed.”
Ford v Ferrari came out fast and surprised me. Mangold pulls off what I see as a wonderful commentary on the Hollywood studio system within this true story of racing and the executives who feel the need to interject. The film also has some of the best performances of the year with Bale and Damon. While on the outside Ford v Ferrari may seem like this overly masculine, motorhead type film about racing and the men that do it. It is much more than that. This is a movie that should be experienced on the big screen. I highly recommend going out to see it as soon as possible.
Overall Score 5/5