Movie Review: Ford vs. Ferrari


The Closet Conservative


This one is a winner… by all accounts of what makes a perfect movie, this one just about does it.  Ford vs Ferrari packs into two and a half hours loads of historical information (certainly Hollywoodized up in many instances – I’m sure), drama, a buddy picture, irony, insight, danger, human challenge, big guy vs the little guy, arrogance of fame and power, and sprinkle in a little romance and you have one of the best movies of the year.

Call this a cross between “Cars” and “The Right Stuff”.  The racing sequences are wonderful, and the dramatic scenes in-between the races make the racing that much more dynamic and meaningful. It’s not just a two-hour movie of seeing race cars drive in circles.

Although both Mr. Ford (grandson of Henry) and Mr. Ferrari are presented in this movie. (How accurate, is something that I’m sure is debatable)  Yet, the movie is not about them. Its focus is on the characters played by Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Both play real life race car drivers who made a big difference in the sales of “muscle cars” in the 1960’s, and both were colorful characters who battled the establishment with innovative ideas about racing, and the designing of race cars.  Damon plays the legendary Carol Shelby, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans race in 1959.  Shortly after he began designing and building cars, most notably the Shelby Cobra.  Bale plays the lesser known race car driver, Ken Miles. Both play central roles in what becomes the “battle of the Ford Company vs the Ferrari Name” in the 1966 24 hours of Le Mans.  If  you don’t know their story, DON’T look it up before you see the movie. It will surely take away some intriguing story plots, and big moments.  I did not know their story, and thoroughly enjoyed the move.

For those with a nostalgic strain, the movie is loaded with details that harken you back to the 1960’s. Much like “Once A Time in Hollywood” did, “Ford vs. Ferrari” is constantly reminding you of the feel and challenges of the day. Music, billboards, and TV commercials, will constantly remind you it is 1964 or 1965. The presenting of the NEW 1964 Mustang, and the usage of the historical character, Lee Iacocca also lend itself to many moments where you’ll smile in recognition and recall all that may have been going on in your life, during this time of 1960’s auto racing.