Ford V Ferrari (2019)

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American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

I have always been a car guy.  In fact, the timeline is perfect to assume that I was conceived in the back seat of an EH Holden, while Puberty Blues played on a drive-in movie screen – unconfirmed, but probable.

Now, I don’t build cars or tinker with them in any way.  I wish I had the time, and maybe some day I will, but for now, I just appreciate everything about them.  The lines, the sounds, the paint, the speed – it all gets me worked up.

I couldn’t begin to calculate how many hours I’ve spent watching V8 Supercar races, Formula 1, NASCAR, or any other motorsport that graces my tv screen.  I’ve also attended many races in the real world – I love it!

I also hugely appreciate movies about cars and Motorsport.  When I was quite young, I watched Tucker: The Man and His Dream – the story of Preston Tucker, an Ill fated car designer, and it captivated me.  Then there’s the Fast and Furious franchise (obviously less and less focus on cars these days), Days of Thunder, Driven, Talladega Nights – honestly, even the animated Cars is great for me!

What I really like though, is the biographical behind the scenes look at a real life situation, and for me, Tucker has now been replaced by Ford VS Ferrari.

Directed by James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line, Identity) from a script by Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Spectre) and Jason Keller (Escape Plan, Mirror Mirror), Ford VS Ferrari comes together exceptionally well.

It is a story of triumph and tragedy, the tale of an underdog who overcomes the odds, and defies adversity from not only rival car manufacturers, but from corporate suits within their own organisation.  This film really had me rooting for the team of Shelby and Miles – and I’m not a Ford guy (remember where I was “posssibly” conceived…)

While I’m not a “Ford guy”, I can appreciate a lot of their “muscle car” output, and that’s the era that Ford VS Ferrari centres on.  The initial move towards putting a racing team together.

Now, I don’t know how much fact or fiction has been inserted into the story to make a more appealing movie (it certainly doesn’t paint Ferrari in a flattering light at times) but I will say, that it’s compelling viewing, and very well scripted and directed.  The scenes depicting research and development are interesting, the race scenes will have you on the edge of your seat, and even the scenes between Miles and his family are tender and believable.

Matt Damon is fantastic as Carol Shelby, and Christian Bale puts in a great performance to bring Ken Miles to the screen.  The supporting cast features Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas and Caitriona Balfe among others, and everybody brings believability to the table.

If you’re a “car guy” you will enjoy this movie – possibly even love it – but, if you’re just a fan of a great story, and not necessarily a fan of cars or racing, you will still find something here to enjoy.

9/10

Rick Trewin.

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