FORD VS FERRARI (aka LE MANS '66) (12)
D: James Mangold
20th Century Fox/TSG/Turnpike (Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping & James Mangold)
USA 🇺🇸 2019
W: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth & Jason Keller
DP: Phedon Papamichael
Ed: Michael McCusker & Andrew Buckland
Mus: Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders
PD: François Audouy
Matt Damon (Carroll Shelby), Christian Bale (Ken Miles), Catriona Balfe (Molly Miles), Noah Jupe (Peter Miles), Tracy Letts (Henry Ford II), Jon Bernthal (Lee Iacocca), Josh Lucas (Leo Beebe)
Taking inspiration from real life events, this high octane sports biopic focuses on the rivalry between traditional American car manufacturers Ford and the more luxuriant Ferrari models during the mid-1960's, culminating in them at war with each other on the track at the 24 hour race, Le Mans, in 1966.
After seeing a downturn in his stock and his vehicles becoming less favourable in the American marketplace, Henry Ford II and his executives approach sports car designer Carroll Shelby to create something more modern and capable of competing with the Italian company.
Shelby is on-board with the plan, but only with his driver, Ken Miles, behind the wheel. British mechanic Miles is as passionate about vehicles as Shelby, but his brash, irascible attitude doesn't win him any fans with the Ford executives, who want a more "corporate man" as their poster boy.
The narrative has a bit of a stop-start as it sets up the story, but once it gets to the race track, it puts its foot on the gas pedal for a truly exhilarating spectacle, brilliantly photographed and edited so it's easy to follow the action, even for those who aren't fans of motor sports.
The period is convincingly reconstructed throughout, making the movie feel as though it were actually filmed in the 1960's and the two main leads are enigmatic throughout, although Christian Bale's dialogue can be quite difficult to understand over the sound effects as his wavering accent seems to take us all around around the West Midlands. Thankfully, these criticisms aren't too much of a game changer and the final product is worthy of a lap of honour.