Ford v Ferrari (directed by James Mangold) is the encaptivating tale of the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1966. American car designer Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his creative team of engineers, mechanics, and drivers, one of which included Ken Miles (Christian Bale), faced off against the reigning champions Ferrari to develop a revolutionary automobile capable of winning this coveted title.
The key message of this movie was how bureaucracy, red-tape, and workplace politics negatively influences the creativity of individuals. Mangold did an outstanding job to convey this message from start to finish, and for that I give him two thumbs up. As a racing enthusiast, I also found it refreshing to watch a mainstream Hollywood film that does this sport justice; other stellar examples include Rush. I quite enjoyed how the set design, music and cinematography of this movie matched the time period it was set in. The camera-work was also excellent, particularly the use of tracking shots coupled with an adequate dose of CGI to capture what cars looked and sounded like in the 1960s. The performances of the cast, though not “oscar-worthy”, were serviceable.
On the flip-side, this is a two and a half hour movie. Not that that’s a negative, but it did mean that the film took its sweet time to get revved up. The more interesting aspects of the movie were the testing and racing scenes of the cars, rather than the interpersonal relationships that the film attempts to explore. There were also a few side plots, that I didn’t find myself too interested in; one of which included the relationship between Ken Miles and his family. I feel like the movie could’ve instead spent more of its runtime on the actual technicalities and design process of the automobile developed by Shelby and his team.
In summary, this film has been on my watch-list for a while and I am so glad that I finally got around to watching it. The merits of Ford v Ferrari are its authenticity, themes, and camerawork. The movie could’ve bettered itself by modifying its runtime to focus more on the actual design process of the beastly automobiles it showcases, rather than on semi-elaborated side plots.