If you ask me, Ford v Ferrari is the reason why cinema can’t be totally abandoned in favour of streaming services.
Set in the late sixties, the Ford Motor Co.’s status as an industry leader was waning.
To get back on top, Henry Ford II enlisted American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), and eccentric British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), to build a revolutionary race car for the company — to rival the innovative edge of motoring icon Enzo Ferrari.
The car (and the team’s) ultimate test would be to win the famous race, the ‘24 Hours of Le Mans’ in France.
This quest makes Ford v Ferrari just plain fun. As they test their cars and zip around LA you feel glued to the road, experiencing the speed of every corner, feeling the roaring rumble of the driver’s engines. It’s hard to stop grinning from ear to ear, delighting in the thrill of being a ‘car guy’ (or gal!) just like them.
As Ken and Carroll pursued innovation and shaped engineering history, they forged an old-school male friendship. They disagreed about a lot, jabbed each other with cheeky wit, and worked out their issues in awkward grocery-throwing kerbside brawls that had Matt Damon asking, “Is this really what’s became of Jason Bourne and Batman?” (Its lack of finesse is less than flattering to the highly choreographed heroes he and Bale previously played!)
In the absence of modern computer technology and smart phones, Ken and Carroll also appear wonderfully grounded; they’re blokes who love to tinker and see what an afternoon in the shed can accomplish.
“Ford v Ferrari is an absolute adventure, and if Rush is what it will be compared to, it wins, hands down.”
They’re not worried about grease-stained hands while making cheese and spam sandwiches, or speaking their mind to out-of-touch execs. They have an admirable work ethic that isn’t motivated by ‘climbing the ladder’, but about committing wholeheartedly to opportunities to innovate and create.
While Ken Miles was a great driver, you get the impression he was a great dad, too. His son Peter went with him to racing meets, to the workshop, and tagged along when he was called into Corporate. The two shared a bond of life lessons and laughter, bringing out Ken’s softer side and offering Ford v Ferrari some decent moments of reflection. It’s an example of fatherhood that will stick with viewers long after the credits roll.
Ford v Ferrari is an absolute adventure, and if the 2013 Formula One flick Rush is what it will be compared to, it wins, hands down.
Ken and Carroll’s story goes to show that with the right friend and right attitude, you might just make history. This movie is one of the year’s best.
Ford v Ferrari is in cinemas now. Rated M