American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
Ford v Ferrari is an oldfashioned film.
And I mean that in the nicest way possible, as it clearly has a script, interesting characters, tells a true story in a very straight and economical way, giving us what we need to see, and not any ballast.
Still it clocks in at 152 minutes, so a whopping 2.5 hours runtime. It didn’t feel that long tho. Despite we all know what happened in Le Mans 1966, we’re with our two main chars, suffering and feeling with them every minute and every second. And they aren’t even very likable people, quite the contrary. Still we’re rooting for them, not for Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) and absolutely not for the Ford Motor Corporation, since they are even greater assholes.
I liked the perspective of FvF, putting Carrol Shelby and his friend and favourite driver into the focus, not the rivalry Henry II (Tracy Letts) v Enzo and their underlings and cronies. So the real conflict in FvF is a David v Goliath theme, not in the sense of David Ford v Goliath Ferrari but in the sense of David Petrolheads v Goliath Motor corporations. Carrol Shelby (Matt Damon) is undecided and willing to do some compromises, while Ken Miles is an unapologetic hot head and everything but the poster boy nice guy Ford wants and needs as their face of success. The one time Miles listens to reason, and pays a favour to Ford it doesn’t end well for him.
And that’s maybe what this movie is about: Stay true to yourself, don’t pay any lipservice, don’t compromise. And never be the nice guy just to be a nice guy!
And we can clearly see that in the casting of the movie: The supporting cast is strong and fits like ass on bucket but we spend a majority of the runtime following a very strong Matt Damon and an absolutely commandeering Christian Bale.
You already guessed it: FvF ain’t the right movie for SJWs and millenial weaklings and GenZ assholes. Deal with it!
Okay, and now the inevitable comparison, you’ve all been waiting for, right?
FvF v Rush!
Hubby and me just watched 2013’s Rush again last week, in preparation for FvF. It’s the only comparable movie we could imagine. Tell me any movie better suited, I dare you. In Rush we also have two strong-willed characters, pitted against each other. Two contrary types, the super talented playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth ) and the meticulous planner and overall boring guy Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). In Rush the rivalry between their racing stables is totally in the background and it’s again all about two fighting characters, two opposing lifestyles.
My first reaction, after watching FvF last night was that I clearly favoured Rush, since the personal conflict was stronger and the racing scenes even more engaging as they place you right in the cockpit with the drivers.
But in the long run I guess FvF is the better movie, leaving a longer lasting impression on me. It’s very chronologically narrated, almost too cool in its view. And director James Mangold delivers a bonafide tour de force here. In that regard it reminded me more of 1983’s wonderful The Right Stuff, another star studded, fact-based movie, which seems to be undercooled but still manages to get your emotions up.
And now let’s find out what Chris and Jeremy thought about FvF:
Grace gets why I had such a problem with this writeup. FvF is hard to decipher:
And here my special friend Mark Kermode:
Mark notices how fun the film is, but also melancholic. Very good. Now I know why I was so undecided at first.
But now here’s a video to clear up the differences between film and true history:
And now a very late CONCLUSION:
I had troubles writing this review. Despite FvF’s seemingly simple structure of straight storytelling. We had a good time watching the movie and I knew there must be something more hidden deep inside the film vehicle (pun not intended), something I needed all the above movie critics to point out for me. Particularly Grace and Mark, the two other guys less so.
So for me it becomes clear that FvF is a fukn masterpiece, a totally earnest movie for adult audiences. Not in the American sense of Language and Nudity and all the other bullshit restrictions, but a film for grown up, mature brains. It’s a movie about life decisions, about finding out who you are and where you stand.
The flashy racing and cars stuff is just the vehicle, a set up to reveal the characters and their differences. And that’s something neither The Right Stuff, nor Rush managed to achieve. As great as they are – and highly recommended by yours truly – they had different, much humbler goals.
And to end it all one kinda misleading trailer coming up: