By Maddy Turner
The film “Ford vs Ferrari” was released on the 14th of November, and boy did it surprise me. It follows the story of Carroll Shelby (the first American to win the 24 hours Le Mans race, and race car manufacturer, played by Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (a race car driver played by Christian Bale), as they build the first and fastest race car for Ford Motor Company in order to beat Ferrari at 24 hours Le Mans. Sorry, that was a long and convoluted explanation, but anyway, moving on. Like I said, I went in with exceptionally low expectations – I was seeing it with five guys and I automatically assumed it would be “just another racing movie.” I am happy to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
So, let’s drive in shall we? First of all, the storyline and writing were of a very high level. As a writer myself, the screenwriting is one of the things that I am on the lookout for first and foremost. The movie didn’t drag at all, and I can confidently say that I was never really bored. This was due to the perfect balance of action, masculinity, emotion, and story. This meant that even in the gaps where there was no racing happening, you were still invested in the characters lives, relationships and experiences – it makes it different to just any racing movie. On top of this, as far as my research and I can tell, the way the movie portrays the 24 hours of Le Mans is fairly accurate to the story it’s based off and the race itself. A commendable effort. I love the way that the movie manages to appeal to a range of audiences – it appeals to people who just love racing, and those who enjoy watching a well-made movie (such as myself).
Bouncing off that point, the cinematography was also impressive and a massive highlight to the movie. It was simply a beautiful film. The colours, camera angles, almost everything was on point. Cinematography has the ability to make or break a film, and I honestly think more people should pay attention to it. It helps draw the audience into the story – in this case it was especially present in the race at Le Mans. I was stressed throughout pretty much the entire race (but in a good way). It felt like I was there, driving with Ken Miles the entire time, feeling what he was feeling. I think it was the way they shot these final scenes that really accomplished this. It was shot extremely simply, but effectively. The director made the right choice by not involving any (in my opinion) stupid angles, for example spinning cameras that just make the viewer throw up.
Of course, the actors played a major role in the success of this film (as they generally do). I fully believed each actor’s performance, starting with Matt Damon. Now, don’t get me wrong here, Matt Damon was and always be a brilliant actor, but he does generally get type cast to the hero in action movies (such as Jason Bourne). This is probably because he’s really good at it. However, it was nice to see him take on a completely different role. It allowed us to see a more sensitive side of Damon, instead of the hardened hero that we generally see.
Matt Damon’s co-star Christian Bale also really impressed me in this film. He, much like Damon, played a completely different role to that which I’m used to (I’m mainly talking about Batman here). In Ford vs Ferrari, he played an almost loveable character, of which the audience could easily connect to. This is ironic, as in the film, his character (Ken Miles) is meant to be unlikeable – do what you want with that information. He just portrayed the family man who found his passion in racing perfectly. Even the characters that you will end up hating did an excellent job with acting – you hate this one guy so much you want to punch him through the cinema screen (he has something I like to call a punchable face). Still, I applaud the actor for his efforts, it can’t have been easy to have to keep up with Matt Damon and Christian Bale levels of acting.
Look, honestly just watch the movie. Really, my only complaint of the movie is that it sells itself short with the title. The film is so much more than just the feud between car companies – its story is deep and detailed and deserves to be heard. It’s a beautifully made movie. So whether you just like racing movies, or you have a deep appreciation for what makes a good movie, or even if you just like the actors – book yourself a ticket and watch it.