When stepping into the theater to watch James Mangold’s “Ford vs. Ferrari” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Many movies of this genera are — simply put — not my thing. I’m not into cars, I’m not sporty and I know nothing about this real-life event. All that said, I’m glad I went. “Ford vs. Ferrari” brings something to the table for many of its viewers.
“Ford vs. Ferrari” tells the true story of British driver Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, as he rises to stardom in the 1966 24 hours of Le Mans race in France. Miles is part of a team trying to defeat Ferrari in the race with a Ford car. Miles was guided by his lifelong friend Carroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and this movie shows both the relationship between these men as well as the changes that occur throughout their lives.
The brilliance of this movie is in the relationships that is built between its main characters and the interactions they share with the less important roles. Bale and Damon show an excellent ability to blend into their roles, allowing the viewer to believe the actions of each character.
Miles is difficult, but because of his redeeming relationships with his son and wife, viewers aren’t entirely frustrated by his attitude. The film shows us that, although he doesn’t fit into the norm, he possesses outstanding qualities aside from his faults. In short — it works.
I can not attest to the accuracy of the driving, but I was impressed by the cinematography of the scenes in the car. My first impression when it comes to a racing movie is that the scenes in the car might get repetitive. This isn’t the case. What works well is not that the shots are all different, but that the shots made in the car have meaning.
For example, during the movie they often show a gauge that pushes the limits of the car. In the movie we learn that that gauge can’t be pushed passed a certain point for too long without the car breaking down. Since we’ve learned this, we feel suspense as we watch the gage nearing its breaking point.
The cinematography also showed its strengths in close ups of people, showing active backgrounds that felt authentic to the time and details that helped build the story. I was never bored watching the movie and many times felt completely immersed in this experience, even though its not entirely relatable to most people.
I was left wondering whether or not this movie does anything new for the inspirational sport genre. For me the answer is both yes and no.
The structure of this movie feels like it follows a specific formula. The plot isn’t anything crazy: an underdog narrative we all have gotten used to.
What is different than most of the inspirational sport movies is the exceptional quality behind the sound design, acting and filming. I was invested in the story because so many parts of this film sold it.
If you’re on the fence about this film, you should investigate it. This film sets a high standard for inspirational sport movies and possesses you to learn more about the story they told. It presents a level of acting I haven’t seen in a long time and gives the viewer something to be inspired about.