Courtesy of m.media-amazon.com
Smashing box office rankings for its opening weekend, “Ford v Ferrari” is already a rare instant hit. Director James Mangold brings the true story of automotive designer Carroll Shelby and British race car driver Ken Miles to life, giving them an inspiring layer of emotional depth while presenting audiences with 1960s Hollywood nostalgia. The film’s combination of exciting race scenes and meaningful conversations make a well-rounded and resonating story.
Although it is slightly longer than the average film, “Ford v Ferrari” keeps viewers on the edge throughout its entire run time. The film follows automotive genius Carroll Shelby and his talented race car driver Ken Miles, as they work to build the Ford Mustang, which can travel faster than a Ferrari. In addition to navigating personal battles, Shelby and Miles must overcome corporate pressure in order to build the most impressive race car that they can.
Every racing scene throughout the film holds the audience’s excitement and keeps the adrenaline pumping, especially the final showdown at the 24-hour long Le Mans race in France. The tension between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari and the unexpected finish provides a perfect opportunity for Shelby and Miles to work through their inner demons. Even those who couldn’t care less about cars will find themselves literally leaning into the story.
Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles presented spectacular, Oscar-worthy performances. By fully becoming their characters, Damon and Bale added an intense rawness to the story. Through portraying Shelby’s persistence and Miles’ boldness, the pair brought unique chemistry, serving as the ideal movie duo.
Although Damon and Bale truly stole the show, the performances of the supporting actors should not be overshadowed. Tracy Letts’ excellent portrayal of Henry Ford II served as an essential aid to depict the overall message of the story of what matters in life. Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles added another emotional layer to enhance Ken Miles’ character.
Nearly every conversation throughout the film has to do with cars, and the basis of the story is a very basic competitive narrative. However, “Ford v Ferrari” goes beyond cars. Between the astounding performances by actors, unexpected ending and meaningful underlying themes, the story will leave audiences deep in thought. In addition, the film is reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of the 1960s in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which adds to its authenticity.
“Ford v Ferrari” is more than loud engines and speedy cars. Every element of the film, from the writing to every little detail of the production design, was clearly well thought out, which effortlessly created a genuine story that sticks with audiences.