By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –
This film tells the true story about Ford’s battle with Ferrari in the 1960s at the legendary endurance race The 24 hours of Le Mans in France. The film focuses specifically on the 1965 and 1966 years. Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) wants to find a new innovation and they decide to buy Ferrari to have access to their sports cars and racing. However, the deal falls through and Henry decides to bury Ferrari at Le Mans. They hire Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) because he is the only American that has won Le Mans. Shelby brings his driver, Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who is difficult and doesn’t work well within the corporate world. Through good old American innovation, they create the iconic Ford GT 40 to attempt to win The 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The performances are outstanding in this film. Specifically, the two leads Damon and Bale. Damon brings a level of authenticity to Carroll Shelby that can get lost in biopics and sports films. We are watching Damon become Shelby; it never felt like I was watching Damon act. Christian Bale is phenomenal as Ken Miles, even though he might not have the same large nose that Miles had, which thank god, it would’ve been distracting like Malek’s prosthetic teeth in Bohemian Rhapsody. However, his mannerisms and the way he spoke was spot on. Ken Miles was difficult to work with, but he was a good person. Bale made Ken Miles a very complex character and avoided the one-dimensional characters that several sports films have. Also, I want to quickly mention Tracy Letts who is the perfect actor to play the boss of a large corporation. It’s his bread and butter and he is captivating in this film.
On the technical side, this film is outstanding. The cinematography is brilliant, showcasing the gorgeous hills and valleys on California around the race tracks. Also, the race sequences are shot with such an expert eye you feel like you’re racing and you feel your body wanting to sway in the direction Bale is turning the car. The visual effects are sublime, the presumed CGI of the races mixed seamlessly with the practical racing stunts in a way that it made it look like the entire race sequence was actually filmed while racing.
The editing is also top notch. The film feels fast, but not rushed. We fly through 150 minutes watching these men try and fail. The driving sequences are also edited in a way that it feels like they are actually driving. We do not see them shift 35 times and every shift is intercut with an outside shot of the vehicle passing another vehicle with every shift. You can tell James Mangold and his team wanted to make sure this film felt as real as possible with realistically presenting small details like those. The editing and cinematography of the race sequences will put you on the edge of your seat, even if you know the outcome of this story.
I loved Ford v Ferrari, and I think this is a film that will resonate with anyone, not just racing fans. It’s a story about how any company can squish the creativity and individuality of anyone. A story many people can relate to. Also, it’s a great reminder of what America can do when we put our minds together and roll up our sleeves and work hard.
Ford v Ferrari (2019) Drinking Game
Do a Shot: for every race.
Take a Drink: every time someone mentions that Ken is difficult.
Take a Drink: for every crash.
Do a Shot: every time Ken and Shelby are kept down by the man.