I recently wrote a piece on the film Warrior.
It said the majority of sports had a film that defined them, and as I watched FORD v FERRARI, I’d realised I’d forgotten to include Motorsports.
Yes, cars racing cars is a sport, and I hadn’t included any examples of that in my piece.
So FORD v FERRARI reminded me of this error, and it means I will now take it upon myself to decide if it fits the bill of ‘definitive’ or ‘defini-not’.
Does it have enough fuel in the engine? Or does it kind of splutter along?
American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Company.
As soon as I saw freakin’ James Mangold attached at the front as Director, I knew some sh*t was going to go down.
With the likes of Girl, Interrupted, Kate & Leopold, Walk The Line and LOGAN under his belt, you KNOW some sh*t is going down.
That sh*t is left on the shoulders of Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Yes, the American is the American, and the Brit is the Brit, and I can’t wait to hear “Wow, Bale does a great British accent!” (he’s British).
Fulfilling their roles as Shelby and Miles, we see them deliver through 1960’s capitalism, innovation and a friendship that is as heartwarming as it is toxic.
Add to this a family side-story with Miles; It prods at the threat of normalcy after war, and what winning actually means to someone and well…critical acclaim anybody?
The action is thrilling, and terribly uncanny valley; I frequently questioned if the cars we were seeing were real or not, as they raced by, blurred and all.
The overall drama revels in itself, sometimes coming up more humorous than it should be. This lends itself well to an underdog tale of passions followed to the end, because that’s what sports movies can be; Overcoming the odds.
The odds in this case are wholly dictated by rival car manufacturers, because that’s the capitalism I mentioned earlier, wedging itself in the middle and saying “HEY. ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURES LED BY THE RICH ARE KIND OF TERRIBLE”.
This film follows the classic checklist for awards season, and will no doubt end up in there. Capturing the humanity and nature of the era, its thrills come to form in its acting, racing and development of the GT40.
But goddammit James Mangold. Goddammit.
Yeah, this sh*t is gonna get nominated and honestly, it's kind of refreshing to see the 'fast' without the 'furious' (though there's some furious sh*t in there).
Fans of Shelby and Miles might know more of the story than what was delivered, but that's what a dramatisation gets you; A nice story of a nice car in a nice race.