Ford v. Ferrari
This is a sensational film that will remind many of you of why you are a movie fan.
I loved this film because it is first class entertainment. Directed by James Mangold, it tells the story of an automotive designer and a great British race car driver who team with the Ford Motor Company to challenge Ferrari’s dominance at Le Mans, France in 1966.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Matt Damon and Christian Bale team up to rival the performances of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Damon plays Carroll Shelby, a race car driver who is forced to spend his time as an automotive designer because of health reasons. Mr. Bale plays Ken Miles, the race car driver, who teams with Shelby as they approached the Ford Motor Company for sponsorship to build a car that could compete with Ferrari in the Formula One circuit. Both actors give marvelous performances as aggressive characters who were forced to overcome personal weaknesses to succeed.
In the process, you watch some very funny, engaging encounters that begins with Damon’s Shelby approaching Henry Ford II for sponsorship. Tracy Letts should receive a supporting actor nomination for his performance as Mr. Ford, an arrogant, demanding leader of the largest automotive manufacturing business in the world. Letts is captivating in every scene and you will be reminded of his sensational contributions in such wonderful films as The Big Short (2015), The Post (2017) and the unforgettable Lady Bird (2017).
While Damon is at his best as he is forced to navigate the Ford inner circle composed of Lee Iacocca (John Burnthal) and the take-no-prisoners approach of Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe, Bale dominates this film not just as a race car driver but as a guy whose marriage enables him to succeed as he tries to make a living in a difficult profession. The father of a young son, his relationship with this spirited wife Mollie, played in glorious fashion by Caitriona Balfe, will leave you falling in love with both of them.
This film takes place in an era where masculinity dominated at every level. Mr. Mangold’s decision to concentrate on the marriage of Mark and Mollie Miles gave this film some emotional force that elevated it to an unexpected level. It allowed you to freely enjoy the many tremendous driving scenes where you actually feel that you are behind the wheel of a race car traveling at speeds up to 200 mph under incredibly difficult racing conditions. Combined with a memorable soundtrack, you are not likely to have a better experience in any film.