Ford v Ferrari (titled Le Mans ’66 in the UK and other territories) is a 2019 American sports drama film directed by James Mangold, and written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller.
The plot follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby and his British driver, Ken Miles, who are dispatched by Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca with the mission of building the Ford GT40, a new racing car with the potential to finally defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari racing team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.
The stanza above sums up the concept of this movie
Based on a real life event, let’s find out if it Delivers?
- It literally zaps, zooms and whizzes to the finish line
- While doing so, it enthralls, entertains and much more
Anything that doesn’t work?
Apart from the length? Pretty much nothing!
Considering this is the only quibble we have gotten out of our way:
So what All Works?
- To begin with, the narrative structure
- The story begins with Shelby(played by Damon with pizzazz)
- This focal sequence conveys why Damon’s character is the fulcrum of this tale
- From here on, the narrative keeps gliding effortlessly
- Every character introduced have well fleshed out arcs
- The Direction by Mangold keeps a tight rein on proceedings
- For every dull moment, there is a sequence around the bend
- In due time as we approach these bends, the mundane disappears
- Thus, Mangold begins treating the script like a race track
- We see gears being shifted gradually, torque applied where needed
- This keeps us on the edge of our seats even when there is nothing happening
- At the same time, tricky curves are also maneuvered with ease
- The back ground score by Beltrami lends enough zing to the drama unfolding on screen
- This is also the case when the race sequences are under way
- The Cinematography by Papamichael is breathtakingly beautiful
- Every frame allows for the rush of the racing cars to be felt even on a visual scale
- The editing is restrained with scenes seamlessly flowing into one other
- The supporting cast is splendid!
- Out of all, a special mention goes to Bernthal, Lucas, Letts and Balfe for adding fire on screen
- Balfe as Bale’s wife matches him step for step when they share sequences
- Finally, the 2 main leads!
- Christian Bale as Ken Miles, the British car race driver essays the passion of a Motor Car
- His quirks, anguish, brazen nature indicate the hotheadedness of a car that has over heated
- Yet despite these eccentricities, he still retains the humane qualities of a doting father, a loving husband and a faithful friend
- The Performances will remain incomplete without talking about the other lead Matt Damon
- This son of a gun still exhibits sparks of a thorough bred acting class in motion
- He plays Shelby with grace and ruggedness all at the same time
- The Texan accent and twang, it’s enough to make the ladies drool
- His restraint while emoting is beyond description
- Words cannot capture the essence he brings on screen
- Truly Immaculate!
- The Chemistry between these 2 leads is Electric; they just rub off genius on each other
Finally, how do we end without talking about the racing sequences?
- Mangold has forsaken CGI to film race sequences that are real to life
- This ruse works as it puts you out there on the race track
- Every turn, every thrust, every crash is enough to give us a sense of the vibration
- The vibration of being in the driver’s seat; sufficient to get your adrenaline racing
Ford v Ferrari definitely deserves a big screen viewing for:
- The Performances
- The Cinematography
- The Racing Sequences
- The Inspiration of a few insane people to overcome all odds
P.S: I do apologize for having written this post 3 days too late, but it still deserves to be written so that more people get to watch this
For those in Mumbai, try to watch this one on Screen X at INOX Malad
It’s a unique yet pleasant experience!
A movie like this ought to be experienced on Screen X, without a doubt