Auto racing is more than simply competing to win a race. In the film Ford v Ferrari, viewers experience the battle for supremacy within an industry and the relationships forged in the race to go fast.
Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) is thought to be the best American car designer, and Shelby loves to race. Working with driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), a man Shelby viewed as not only a colleague but also a friend, he is pushing the automobile to do more than ever before.
Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) is trying to remake the image of Ford Motor Company. He appoints Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) and Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas) to lead his efforts. Iacocca knows who the go-to person is to enable Ford to compete with the dominant Ferrari brand: He must enlist Carroll Shelby. With Shelby onboard, the Ford team sets out to win the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and put the Ford stamp on the world scene.
This race to create a car to compete with the standard-bearer of Ferrari has all hands on deck at Shelby American, and Carroll has a team in mind to head to France for the final drive. Beebe believes Miles isn’t a “Ford Guy” as he doesn’t have the image that the car company would like. The pressure from the Detroit headquarters is to remove him from the list of drivers, despite Miles’ intimate knowledge of the car. And when putting another driver behind the wheel fails miserably, lines must be drawn in the sand if this challenge to Ferrari is to be successful. But who will have the strongest will and who will survive?
More than a movie about racing, Ford v Ferrari has incredible themes of family, trust, friendship and corporate politics weaving in and out of it much like Miles’ racing to the front of the field. All of the racing feels real and intense. Whether facing competitors or simply the boundaries of the car, there is never a moment I doubted the authenticity of the scenes. The race for supremacy on the track was on, and Shelby and Miles were intent on winning.
But it’s not just the cars that shine. Damon and Bale are almost perfectly cast as Shelby and Miles. They are like the friend who has your back at most every moment, but who knows that sometimes you must fight each other to survive. It was obvious they both love and hate one another, with the portrayals by Damon and Bale showing the love and respect that exists between these two.
The story comes together and although it feels a tad long, it is genuine and well executed. A tale of trying to be the best at everything we do, whether crafting the best car or the best relationships, Ford v Ferrari crosses the finish line a winner.
Ford V Ferrari is available ON Demand and on DVD beginning Feb. 11. Check your cable system for availability