By Laurie Coker
My father raced cars – this was back in Model A cars and I wasn’t alive – but he taught me how to drive – fast. I love speed and I love the film Ford V. Ferrari, starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon. Director James Mangold offers up the story of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. Solid direction, an excellent cast and an intriguing tale of men who defined and industry make Ford V. Ferrari worth the price of a ticket.
Ford V. Ferrari is about speed, fast cars and men driven to push the boundaries of them both. Carroll Shelby (Damon), a former championship driver in his own right, retires from racing and begins designing cars. No longer willing to sit behind the wheel, he hires edgy, unpredictable Ken Miles (Bale) to drive his cars. Their connection between the men revolves around more than car; it revolves around insatiable drive, passion and intelligence. While these men are working the tracks, Ford executive Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) pitches the idea to Henry Ford II’s (Tracy Letts) to compete in international races like Le Mans to raise the profile of Ford and increase sales with the younger demographic, but not before he tries to buy Ferrari from Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone). With everything on the line, Ford, Shelby, Iacocca put their money, mouths and cars behind Miles. Shelby more than anyone banks on his driver.
Damon and Bale both give fantastic performances, although earns more attention with his particularly passionate Miles. Still, their relationship steers this vehicle for sure. As part of the ensemble, Bernthal, Letts and Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe, Shelby’s crew and pit manager, add to the film’s realistic and high-speed feel. Characters move this film and the true story comes alive. The cars are characters too and knowing their backstory fascinates.
Mongold and crew capture the feel of the 1960s – costuming, color, imagery – transporting viewers to the space and the time, making it almost like watching archived footage and not a modern movie. In Ford V. Ferrari, we get to sit behind the wheel, boardroom door and in the pit with the big names in racing. It earns an A in the grade book,