Movie Review: Start Your Engines

“Ford V Ferrari” is a sports drama film that chronicles the rivalry between Ford Motor Company and Ferrari leading up to 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1966.  James Mangold is the director with Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller as scriptwriters.  Matt Damon stars as former race car diver and later designer, Shelby Carroll while Christian Bale is cast as the fiery British racer, Ken Miles. Tracy Letts has the role of Henry Ford II with Josh Lucas as the traditional snide Ford executive whose ambition puts him at odds with the two protagonist.  Miles and Carroll are enlisted to design a racing car for Ford which can beat the Ferrari engines.  Caitriona Balfe plays Miles’ wife.

The two leads work very well together, which really isn’t all that surprising.  Miles is depicted as a seemingly loose cannon with a short fuse while on the track and has a doting family man during the moments with his wife and son.  Bale plays both sides convincingly, as he usually does.  It was interesting to note that Shelby Carroll’s family life wasn’t explored at all, but a bit of research reveals that he didn’t have a very encouraging track record when it came to marriage.  It does sort of make the film seem a little unbalanced through, but a lot of other aspects in this piece do make up for it.

The film is pretty long and occasionally feels like it, however the performances and the final race does make it worth the time.  I had some trouble following the jargon at times as well.

Although there are times where my attention wandered a little, I ended up enjoying the movie.  The performances were engaging for the most part.  Although I don’t think he really steals the film, I found myself intrigued by one of characters by one of the head team members of the Ford crew working with Carroll and Miles.  Ray McKinnon plays a guy named Phil Remington, who I am not sure is a real person but could be.  Anyway, Remington was a pretty intriguing presence and had some poignant moments.  McKinnon is one of those actors I have seen over the years in supporting roles but something about his presence here made him a bit more noticeable to me.

I think avid racing fans will enjoy this, and I bet most people who know very little about this sport such as myself will still find plenty of moments to enjoy.  If it emerges victorious on the weekend box office numbers, I would consider it well deserved.

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