The 2019 spiritual equivalent of the vastly enjoyable 2013 Ron Howard directorial ‘Rush’. Lamentably so, the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise has free-boarded its own unique brand of larger than life action films into qualifying as racing films, or films about automobiles, while the latest in the franchise, ‘Hobbs and Shaw’, is clear proof that they are anything but. There have been few and far-in-between racing films, and fewer about automobiles that have been true to the spirit and adrenaline rush associated with the sport, including but not limited to ‘Grand Prix’ (1966), ‘Le Mans’ (1971) and the one I mentioned above.
From the looks of it, ‘Ford v Ferrari’, documenting the historic rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, the latter being the dominant racing team and consecutive winner at the French Le Mans race, and the efforts the former made to develop a car that could finally turn the tables around in the favour of Ford. It finally looks like we have a film that will draw true enthusiasts to the theatre while at the same time appeal to the awards circuits as well. Read on to find out what the film holds and what it is about.
Ford v Ferrari Plot: What is it about?
The official synopsis of the film is stated as the “remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966”.
However, before delving into the plot of this momentous, non-fictional event, one that has a gold-plated plaque to its name in the racing world, let’s delve a bit into the history of it. The Le Mans is factually the single longest running and oldest sports car endurance racing event in the world held annually, and in the early 60s were largely dominated by Scuderia Ferrari, the racing division of the Italian motor brand, winning in 1958, and in every year from 1960 to 1965.
In 1963, Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the racing team and of the automotive brand was approached by Ford Motor Company to propose a possible buyout of his company, and in essence, that of Scuderia Ferrari, only to be immediately rebuffed by Ferrari. This led Henry Ford II and Lee lacocca to recruit a determined team of American engineers, designers and automobile experts headed by the legendary Carroll Shelby and race car driver Ken Miles, to develop the even more legendary, Ford GT40, that would eventually help them beat Ferrari at their own game at the 1966 Le Mans. The film documents that rivalry, but primarily the making of the car that would rewrite history and the team behind it.
One look at the trailer and it is obvious that the story found its way on to celluloid by virtue of being an increasingly inspiring tale of resilience and commitment: I say this since the outcome of the legendary showdown in ’66 in France is widely known and is largely regarded as a landmark moment for the American automobile giant and the sports car and racing worlds in general. The trailers also establish the seemingly uphill task that it was, especially given Ferrari’s already prevailing dominance in the circuit, one that was broken by the beast of a machine that was the GT40.
At one instance, Bale’s Ken Miles scoffs at the idea of an American car to beat the Scuderia Ferrari in combat, remarking if they had two to three hundred years to pull off the task, to which Damon’s Shelby replies with relative ease and steely resolve, stating that the team had 90 days to put the automobile together. The expressions of breathlessness breaking down into tears on Tracy Letts’ face at the end of a trial run, who plays Henry Ford II is clear testament to what the team built. A particular part of the trailer has him remarking this to Damon’s Shelby: “This isn’t the first time Ford motors has gone to war, we know how to do more than push paper, go ahead Carroll go to war”. The rest as they say is history.
Ford v Ferrari Cast: Who is in it?
The makers of the film have managed to put together an immensely talented cast for the film, the poster boys of which are surely going to be the film’s biggest draw, both for the regular cinema going audience and possibly at the awards circuits as well, given that the two incredible actors managed to outperform their vast filmography. ‘Ford V Ferrari’ finds its protagonists in Matt Damon playing Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale playing Ken Miles, the two men who spearheaded the team and program for Henry Ford II to develop the GT40.
The rest of the cast is filled out by Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles, Miles’ wife, Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca, vice-president of Ford, Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II, the CEO of Ford, Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe, Noah Jupe as Peter Miles, Miles’ son, Remo Girone as Enzo Ferrari, Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington, JJ Feild as Roy Lunn, a Ford engineer involved in the GT40 program, Gian Franco Tordi as Gianni Agnelli, president of Italian automobile manufacturer Fiat, Jack McMullen as Charlie Agapiou, Benjamin Rigby as Bruce McLaren, a New Zealand professional race car driver and Miles’ race teammate, Joe Williamson as Donald N. Frey, Chief Engineer of Ford, Alex Gurney as Dan Gurney, an American professional race car driver and car constructor and Corrado Invernizzi as Franco Gozzi.
Ford v Ferrari Crew: Who is behind it?
James Mangold of ‘The Wolverine’ and ‘Logan’ fame has directed the film, while also serving as producer on the project. Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller have served as story and screen writers in adapting the real life incidents for the screen. Interestingly so, Marco Beltrami, who has earlier worked with Mangold on ‘3:10 to Yuma’, ‘The Wolverine’ and ‘Logan’ will be returning to compose for the film. ‘Ford v Ferrari’ is one of the last films to be released under the 20th Century Fox banner, while it will be distributed worldwide by the Walt Disney Company.
Ford v Ferrari Release Date: When will it premiere?
‘Ford v Ferrari’ is set to be release worldwide on November 15, 2019, while it recently held its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and will also be shown at Toronto Film Festival.
Ford v Ferrari Trailer
Check out the roaring and adrenaline pumping trailer for ‘Ford v Ferrari’ here.