Ford v Ferarri: Film Review – Takes The Checkered Flag

Verdict: This brilliantly constructed racecar drama is driven with passion.

We’ve seen Christian Bale zoom through the streets of Gotham in the swanky batmobile but now the actor is stepping into the driver’s seat of another legendary car. He is taking on the role of real-life driving legend Ken Miles, who teamed up with visionary automotive designer Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to create the iconic Ford GT40 that beat the seemingly indomitable Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Ford v Ferrari tells the story of the most legendary rivalry in racing history.

What’s Ford v Ferrari About:

It’s the mid-1960s and, after witnessing a slump in sales at the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) is seeking to partner with the Italian automobile giant Ferrari. Fresh off their impressive winning streak at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) bluntly rejects the bid. Ford then shifts its gears to go head to head with Ferrari’s victorious race cars. Ford’s ruthless marketing executive Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) hires Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), the last American driver to win Le Mans, to engineer a car that can match up to Ferrari’s legendary red racer. Now a retired racer turned innovative car designer, Shelby brings in his old buddy Ken Miles (Christian Bale) who is more connected to his vehicle than any other driver on the circuit and even more stubborn than is good for him. Together they set out on a fearless and visionary path towards creating a race car that wouldn’t just beat Ferrari but dominate the competition at France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966.

What Works:

Ford v Ferrari goes full throttle with the thrilling automobile action but it also hits the brakes at the right moments for its gripping human drama. Director James Mangold does a stellar job of constructing a movie that does justice for fans of the sport while also presenting a riveting watch for non-racing enthusiasts. With this film’s brilliant storytelling, you’ll witness the most infamous rivalry in racing history through the stories of the two visionary men at its core. It’s a masterful culmination of fluid script and direction, excellent performances from its cast, and crackerjack movie making in terms of cinematography, sound, and editing. Matt Damon and Christian Bale make a superb team as the duo that pushed the limits of excellence in racing. You’ll be staring anxiously in anticipation and cheering at every accomplishment as you watch Bale’s Ken Miles masterfully weave through the Le Mans racetrack. There’s another scene with Damon and Tracy Letts as CEO Henry Ford II that’ll remind you of the child-like glee of driving. Josh Lucas is the perfect person to root against as the wheeler-dealer marketing head of Ford Leo Beebe. It’s impossible not to be drawn in with all that and the additionally brilliant supporting cast of Caitriona Balfe as Miles’ doting wife Mollie and the talented Noah Jupe as his son Peter.

This film is a definite crowd-pleaser as it expertly steers from action-packed racing to the passionate drama that drives it. As Matt Damon’s Carroll Shelby suggests, Ford v Ferrari really does “go like hell”.

What Could’ve Been Better:

Ford v Ferrari isn’t that much about the cars but it is about the visionary humans driving them. In that sense, it isn’t the high-speed action film that some might expect it to be but it is well worth the ride regardless.

Why You Should Watch:

Ford v Ferrari is not just for automobile enthusiasts but also for others who’d enjoy the story of passion and resolve which is the engine driving this drama.

If that doesn’t convince you, watch more reasons why you need to book your tickets for Ford v Ferrari.

Rochell Pereira: