YES , It’s a true story of 1966
Ford was approached by car designer and former racing champion Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to create the fastest car capable of overtaking Ferrari at the 24-hour race at Le Mans.
Shelby knows only one person who can drive a new car – a pilot with the character Ken Miles (Christian Bale). However, the authorities are very unhappy with this choice and believes that the eccentric Miles spoils the image of the Ford brand.
James Mangold has long established himself as a strong director, able to prove himself in virtually any genre: from romance (“Kate and Leo”) and thriller (“Identification”) to biopic (“Cross the Line”) and superheroics (“Logan”).
His new “FORD vs FERRARI” can be attributed to a film about racing, a sports drama in the best Hollywood traditions, telling about the historical and very important race for America. But here in the center of events are not tires and roaring engines at all, but men at the limit of their capabilities.
“FORD vs FERRARI” first pretends to be a film about healthy competition, thanks to which all the best in this world is born. The heads of two giant automobile companies compete not only as professionals and businessmen, but also as symbols of nations – America versus Italy.
The head of Ford says, “We are going to war!” And the battlefield becomes the hardest track in Le Mans, and the soldiers are simple mechanics and racers who spare no effort for the sake of the success of their brand.
Ken Miles is a somewhat autistic and undeniably brilliant motorist who by ear determines the size and speed of the engine, and drives the car like a devil, stands out from other car racing stars.
The Ford brand does not need such soldiers – it is too unpredictable, it does not understand anything in business and money, even though by the age of 45, Miles is in debt and works in a roadside workshop.
But his old friend Shelby understands well what kind of person Miles is, what exactly this complex, but outstanding character can lead Ford – a car that never won in big races – to victory.
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Two friends – Shelby and Miles – are shown by the director Mangold not only as real heroes and legends of the automobile industry, but also as victims of commerce and public relations. For them, the logic of Ford bosses, demanding to slow down for the sake of good pictures, or to drive behind a driver with a brighter smile, is absolutely meaningless. Shelby and Miles – the salt of the earth, people of business, creating history.
But only later they will not be remembered at all, but rather big cones, like Henry Ford II, whose cars won a triumph in 1966.
One of the most difficult tasks for the director when setting up a racing movie is to make these races interesting not only for car enthusiasts, but also for spectators who have little understanding of how Ford differs from Ferrari. And Mangold coped with this task remarkably: the climactic race at Le Mans lasts on the screen for more than half an hour, but the intensity in the film rises to such heights that time flies with the speed of a racing car.
Christian Bale, for whom every role is a professional test, also shows the upper class: even with a helmet on his head, the artist conveys the dramatic glow of his rogue character. Together with Damon, they played very well, their joint scenes resemble the best examples of buddy movie: both rush in friendly jokes, dog, and in difficult times they are significantly silent.
“FORD vs. FERRARI” is a purely male movie, and one should not be surprised that there are absolutely no love lines and female characters, with the exception of Miles’s wife performed by Katrina Balf. However, the role is rather auxiliary: the first thing is cars.