A Whopper of a Film!
Boys will be boys, and they love to play with cars—model cars or real cars. It doesn’t’ make any difference as long as it zooms. In director James Mangold’s super-fast Ford v Ferrari movie, all the excitement shows on the screen. Boys of all ages will be thrilled with the exciting race track sequences and cars going faster than rockets. The film appears exhilarating from beginning to end, with no let-up to catch your breath. Your nerves will be vibrating at warp speed and your heart rate will exceed your cardiologist’s recommendations as the cars whiz by your bulging eyes.
Car designer Carroll Shelby, played charmingly by Matt Damon with a subtle Texas twang in his vocal chords, and famed British racing expert Ken Miles (Christian Bale) come together as buddies to create a better race car. When Ford Motor Company president Henry Ford II (played with toughness by Tracy Letts) is disgruntled by not having a winning race care, he encourages marketing director Lee Iacoca (Jon Bernthal, a dead ringer for the young Iacoco) to encourage the boys to come up with a car to beat Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans.
Naturally, the Ford people, including a smarmy Josh Lucas as marketing guru Leo Beebe, interfere at every juncture to let the boys know who is in charge. Well, Shelby and Miles are not ones to cave in to other people, so they develop a fabulous racing car by using all their tricks to avoid the Ford gang.
In the meantime, Shelby and Miles develop a love-hate relationship, for both of them are headstrong and want to show which one has the biggest…ego. In an amusing way, they fight and bicker and joke around. You know they like each other, but they can’t let the other know. It’s the back and forth bantering between Damon and Bale that elevates the comedic aspect of the film and endears them to the audience.
Their goal is to enter the race at Le Mans and beat out the Ferrari group of cars. Enzo Ferrari, who is used to winning, does not look upon the Ford people with kindness, especially when they want to buy him out. Ferrari, played by Italian star Remo Gerone, is a canny automaker used to winning. But he also knows that Ford has come up with a slam-bang new car driven by Ken Miles, one of the greatest drivers in history.
The scenes shot on the actual race tracks are stunning, amazing, exhilarating, scary, shocking, nerve-wracking, and thrilling. The photography by cinematographer Phedon Papamichael is absolutely awesome. The excitement of cars flying down the track at speeds up to 200 mph is unbelievably heart-stopping.
The only female in the film is Ken Miles’ wife Mollie, played by the lovely Caitriona Balfe of TV’s “Outlander” series. She offers some amusing scenes when she and Miles have a spat while driving recklessly in their station wagon over the mountains. It’s pretty scary, but funny, too. Their son Peter, a boy enthralled with cars, is played endearingly by little Noah Jupe, 14, a fine young actor who impressed audiences in the horror movie A Quiet Place.
It’s a whopper of a film that will, literally, knock your shoes and socks off during the race track scenes. There’s great humor and banter between Damon and Bale, and they have never been better. Go see the movie and have a whale of a fun time.
(Released by Twentieth Century Fox and rated “PG-13” for some language and peril.)