26 September 2023

Ford V Ferrari

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: James Mangold, 20th Century Fox, M 152 Minutes.

This thrilling motor racing drama from director James Mangold (‘Logan’) is based on the true story of two men brought together by Ford in its ferocious campaign to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

Matt Damon (‘Jason Bourne’) plays renowned American racing driving champion, Carroll Shelby, whose heart condition compels him to retire early from driving.

Driver Ken Miles (‘Dark Knight’s Christian Bale) is a prickly Englishman and perfectionist living with his loving wife Molly (Caitriona Balfe of TV’s ‘Outlander’) and adoring son Peter (Noah Jupe of ‘Wonder’), while working as a mechanic in between driving racing cars.

After Ford executives, led by Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal of ‘Baby Driver’), are humiliated by Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone of ‘Mothers’), Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts of ‘Christine’) doesn’t hesitate in hiring Shelby to build Ford a revolutionary racing car that will “kick Ferrari’s ass”.

Having convinced Miles to help construct and then drive the car, Shelby faces a major challenge from Ford’s vice president, Leo Bebee (Josh Lucas of ‘Boychoir’) whose personal dislike for Miles sees him replaced just prior to the crucial race.

After Ford loses that race, Shelby persuades Henry Ford to allow Miles to rejoin the team – making a deal with Henry that, if Miles wins at Daytona, he will drive Ford’s car at Le Mans.

Miles gets his Daytona win and goes onto France, where Bebee continues to circumvent Miles from winning the prized event, allowing Ford’s three cars to cross the finish line together in the presence of Henry Ford himself.

Although comparisons can be made to ‘Le Mans’ (released in 1971 and starring Steve McQueen) with its excessive number of car racing scenes, Mangold’s historical racing drama is far more exciting and not as monotonous as the McQueen movie.

Instead, the focus in ‘Ford V Ferrari’ is on political machinations, relationships and rivalries rather than car racing, at a time when Ford was going through a resurgence and was determined to beat Ferrari.

Apart from perfectly-pitched performances of Bale and Damon, there is also an enthralling storyline told against the background of actual events that further contributes to the movie’s overall enjoyment.

Vic’s Verdict: 4 Stars

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