THIS movie is aspirational and inspirational. Not just to become a racing warrior but as a motivator to make your dream come true.
It's inspirational in that it makes you want to go out of that cinema hall and do something you love, not merely be a mat rempit or a basikal lajak menace, but to find your passion like these racing dudes.
At its heart, Ford v Ferrari is a movie for people who love a fast car. It's thrilling with all that revving drama revolving around the 1966 Le Mans endurance race, that Ferrari won again and again getting the gall of the American company Ford.
Le Mans is one of the world's longest-running endurance car races, held annually since 1923. The drivers don’t compete at fixed distances, but the winner is determined by how many laps they can achieve in 24 hours.
Director Mangold did take cinematic liberties with the real-life tale, but the Le Mans race did happen. And the cinematography was brilliant, from shots of the gears and the stick shift to the wheels and in the pits, all show the skills and terrible risks these drivers take to win a race, especially a 24-hour test.
Actors Matt Damon and Christian Bale bring authenticity to their roles as Carroll Shelby, American racing legend and car designer, and Ken Miles, the maverick driver from Britain.
They flesh out their roles with their very fibre, so much so you forget The Martian or Jason Bourne (Damon's previous Golden Globe winning role and nominations) or The Fighter or The Dark Knight (Bale's previous characterisations).
All that racing action is augmented by the camaraderie of these two characters on the cars, and when up against big corporations.
It was the time of Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts), the eldest grandson of Henry Ford, who founded the Ford Motor Company. He saw what the Scuderia Ferrari (superstar drivers) were winning under Giuseppe Maria Ferrari. They had a car that spelt sex on aspalt compared to the steady but dull Ford.
So, along came the Ford GT40. What it took to get the Ford GT40 to become the best forms the underbelly of this movie.
Ford’s marketing director, Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) sells the idea of creating a car that could beat the Ferrari at the Le Mans race.
Shelby, tinkering on souped-up stick cars in Los Angeles, gets a call from Michigan. Wild about being given unlimited resources to design and build that Ford car in 90 days, he does it and presumes that Miles – who helped him build that car – will drive it at Le Mans. Ford executives throw a spanner his way, and Shelby dodges it because he knows who is the best driver for the job.
I found some parts of the narrative unnecessary, like Miles’ home life, but the ending, as told by Mangold, is unbelievable.
While Ford is still the only American car to win the Le Mans, you remember the men who managed to screw a big corporation and got to make cars the way a race like Le Mans need them to be. Wild, sexy at full throttle. (Sorry, but the movie lends itself to such puns!)
FORD V FERRARI
DIRECTED BY James Mangold
STARRING Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal
DURATION 153 minutes