Monday, April 13, 2020

Ford v Ferrari: Big on Conflict, High on Drama, Tons of Action -- What's Not to Like?

Movie Review: Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Version: Library Blu-Ray

Strap in for tons of action in Ford v Ferrari as Carrol Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) take on the corporate titans at Ford and the Italian kings at Ferrari to win the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, pretty much on their own. This real-life story is full of life and character and passion, and it has enough drama and conflict for several films.

The back drop to the story is that Ford tried to buy Ferrari to tap into its race engineering talent. But Ferrari looked down its nose at the second generation of Ford's corporate ownership. So Ford decided to challenge Ferrari at its premier racing event the coming year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it tapped the talents and skills of American car designer (and schlock salesman) Carroll Shelby and his team. Shelby wanted crack driving phenom Ken Miles. Miles was a winning driver, but all he had to show for it were the trophies -- little money and, with a difficult personality, few friends. Always the winning salesman, Shelby talked Ford into employing Miles, but there was always tension with the top brass, whose goals always favored marketing the Ford brand at the expense of racing goals.

As the film plays out, you are treated to a panoply of fast and furious scenes featuring speed and conflict, execs versus mechanics trying to ramp up the Ford image and the Ford engine, all to win the biggest race in the world. Who really wins in the end is less up to the cars and more up to the egos. And that's the fun of watching this play out on screen, besides the heavy thrum of engines and tire squeals. Character plays a huge role in this film, and it comes out in aces with Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles, both strong personalities in real life. Josh Lucas also plays a strong role as the heavy Ford executive Leo Beebe, which becomes more critical later in the film.

Everything in this movie comes together to make great viewing. Big on conflict, high on drama, tons of action, great character development, suspense, thrills, and fine acting. What's not to like? Enjoy!

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