This past weekend, Lost Film’s Screen on the Green was the 2019 film Ford v. Ferrari. The film was originally met with audience and critical acclaim and was praised for its compelling retelling of a true story. Is Ford v. Ferrari really worth the rather long two-and-a-half-hour runtime? Let’s find out together.
Ford v. Ferrari tells the true story of two racing legends, Ken Miles (Christian Bale) and Carrol Shelby (Matt Damon). The film follows the events and lead-up to the world famous Le Mans 24-hour race of 1966.
While an old-fashioned racing movie may seem cliché, this particular film seems to avoid the stigma and focuses more on the humanity of the people behind the wheel.
When we first meet Shelby, we see a racing legend who has just recently been told he needs to give up the sport for his heart health. After having his passion taken away from him, Shelby decides to open up a racing car company so that he can still stay involved with the sport he loves.
Here is where we meet the other main character of Ken Miles. Miles is a hot-head British racer whose temper results in a lack of employment opportunities. This results in Miles struggling to make ends meet for his wife and son. The two are given an opportunity to work together whenever the car powerhouse of Ford decides to get involved in the racing game.
Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) starts to become concerned with his legacy and thinks that putting Ford on the map of racing would boost it. He eventually engages in long negotiations with the Italian company Ferrari to create the ultimate race car.
Ferrari however eventually backs out of the deal, leaving Ford high and dry about a year before the famous Le Mans race. Instead of backing down, Ford II hires Shelby to create a car that will compete with Ferrari, who had won the previous six races.
While Miles’ personality sometimes gets in the way, Shelby and he are able to work together to create the now famous Ford GT40 Mk. II. Now, all that work is put to the test whenever the day of the race finally does arrive.
The most impressive aspect of this film to me was that it really never felt like a ‘racing’ movie. While the plot does focus around the lead-up to the Le Mans race, Ford v. Ferrari does a great job centering in on the humanity of the main characters. This allows the action-packed film to almost seem like a drama at times, which is a refreshing change from the over-saturated ‘racing’ franchises such as Fast and Furious.
Bale and Damon do a fantastic job in this film, however, the standout performance for me has to be from Caitriona Balfe, who plays Mollie Miles, Ken’s wife. Both Bale and Balfe have tremendous chemistry and their on-screen relationship really grounds the film.
There truly is not much bad to say about this movie. Speed over to see it if you haven’t already. Ford v. Ferrari gets 4 out of 5 stars.