The history of the sports is full of milestones that, often, go unnoticed by mere mortals, but not for those initiated. Luckily there is Hollywood, which rescues them from the pantheon and makes them irresistible stories for any type of audience, even for those who do not usually bet on this type of movie when delivering their weights at the box office.
Therefore, the best sports film raids are those that manage to depart from the winning model, the discipline itself, the rivalries and triumphalism, and tell something more, as is the case of Ford v Ferrari. Watch it now to see it for yourself
James Mangold turned out to be a versatile and very correct director. Under his belt he has all kinds of projects such as walk the Line (2005), the remake of 3:10 to Yuma (2017) and Logan (2017), for many, one of the best comedy films of recent years, a more serious and obscure story that helped cement the success of films like Joker (2019).
Mangold and the scriptwriters Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller, rescue one of those milestones, but focus on the friendship and tenacity and carried it out. More precisely the collaboration between the designer and automotive engineer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the very experienced (and temperamental) English driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), mainly responsible for the creation and success of the Ford GT40, a race car that was encouraged to the unstoppable Scuderia Ferrari.
Everything starts in the early sixties when Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) seeks a minimum drop of inspiration among its many executives to revitalize the stagnant Ford Motor Company. That's when the absurd (and not so much) ideas of Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal), vice president of the company come into play: buy Ferrari (next to his famous team) to increase sales and, incidentally, stamp his name on the Winning line of The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the longest-running and most famous endurance race in the world.
When the cocky Enzo decides to break the deal and ally with Fiat in the face of the impending bankruptcy, the even more proud Henry II orders Iacocca and his people to concentrate on their own race team and build THE car capable of beating Ferrari at Le Mans. Shelby, retired driver and champion of the event in 1959, turns out to be the best man for the task with his own car company, but decides to ally with his good friend Miles, whose temper does not fall so well among the well-dressed Ford boys, about all Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), in charge of the image and marketing of the company.
Ford v Ferrari is a classic and simple story from its narrative that shows the struggle of this dynamic duo to meet the demands of Ford and his own dreams, the trial, and error to create the perfect machine, put the chest to the negative constants, and not risk their friendship along the way.
There are clashes and blows in between, but if something is certain, there is something inherent that unites these two characters, souls and pillars of the story that Mangold decides to tell. He walks us through the vertiginous tracks of France and many other places, leaving the adrenaline for the end, but it is the relationship and its joint achievements, which most connects with the viewer.
Bale and Damon make a perfect match and carry on their shoulders this super nut adventure that, not for that reason, ceases to be very sincere and visceral. Yes, we are in the mid-sixties, and yes, testosterone becomes the protagonist, but the filmmakers do not waste a second of Caitriona Balfe on the screen as Ken's unconditional wife, Mollie Miles, nor those of the young Noah Jupe like his son Peter, humanizing, even more, these idols of the tracks.
There is nothing glamorous in Ford v Ferrari but there is an exciting and well-taken story that traps beyond the anecdote of Ford, Ferrari, and Le Mnas.