Ford v. Ferrari movie review


Yasmin Vizguerra, Editor

      Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in the sports drama film based off of the story of American Ford car designer, Carroll Shelby and British race car driver Ken Miles, who together build the revolutionary Ford car that was put up against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

      The highly anticipated film was released on November 15, 2019. 

      By the end of its premiere week, it topped Charlie’s Angels,  making $31 million compared to the $8.6 million Charlie’s Angels received.

      The film was directed by James Mangold and written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller.

       In the early stages of the film production, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were set for the lead roles until Mangold was put as director of the film.

       The film runs for 2 hours and 32 minutes, proving it to be longer than normal sports drama films.

       Although it is based off of a real historical event, the movie tends to be loose around getting the history part right. For those who know the history, not seeing it portrayed accurately is a pet peeve but almost every film that follows real events alters some of the events for dramatization and/ or it wouldn’t advance the movie the way the writers envisioned. 

       “I knew about it and although they didn’t include everything, I think it was a pretty good movie,” said Will Lopez (‘20).

       The movie starts in 1959 in Los Angeles when Carroll Shelby, a race car driver, has to quit racing for medical reasons.

        In the early 60s was when he transitioned into being a car designer and selling. 

        He works closely with the English driver Miles who drives Shelby’s cars in local races. Meanwhile, the famous Ford company was lacking in the sales of their cars. 

       Ford’s marketing director, Lee Iacocca, played by Jon Bernthal, came up with a plan to have Ford make cars to be sellable as leisure vehicles but one that’ll also compete with the Ferrari that constantly wins.

       Iacocca hires Shelby to make the car– in 90 days.

       Although in the first runs of making the car, Shelby and everyone at Ford were all humiliated when it didn’t perform as promised, none the Ford GT40 Mk I finishing the race against the Ferrari’s at 218 mph.

       When Shelby was in a meeting with the Ford committee he made an impressive assertion saying, “You can’t win a race by committee, he’s scared to death…” 

       Shelby American ends up joining the NASCAR team with Holman-Moody supporting it. Shelby at this moment has Miles push the car to 7,000 RPM that in turn lets them win the race.

       At the 1966 Le Mans, Miles finally catches up to Ferrari but while he races against Lorenzo Bandini, experiences a brake failure that he has to have changed and it turns into a scandal at the race for the change being “illegal.” 

        They race once more at the Mulsanne Straight, Ferrari being eliminated from the race while Ford finishes in the top-three positions.

       After Ford’s glorious win against Ferrari, they would go on to have a winning streak in 1967, ‘68, and ‘69, becoming the only American manufacturer that won that race. 

       Comparing Ford v. Ferrari to Howard Hawk’s 1965 film, Red Line 7000, Hawk’s storytelling is seen by celebrating the works of big auto companies while taking a look at the personal lives of the drivers and the cultural changes at the time too.  Mangold does an impressive job of dealing with the matters of life and death, fortune and fame, and corporate culture that surrounds the racing industry.         

       Ford v. Ferrari is a must-watch film for those who like sports drama, but be wary of the long showtime.