• 23 Nov - 29 Nov, 2019
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Ford v Ferrari is a great-looking, handsomely produced but tiringly acted and inert sports drama about two good ol’ boys from the self-admiring world of motor racing – which a character here wryly calls “turning left for four hours”. This picture goes straight ahead for two and a half.

Based on a true story, Ford v Ferrari is crammed with unearned emotional moments and factory-built male characters whose dedication to their sport we are expected to find adorable and heroic by turns.

A relaxed Matt Damon brings his familiar, untroubled boyish charm to the role of Caroll Shelby, the racing-driver-turned-designer who was hired by Ford in the late 60s to put together a car and a team that would defeat Ferrari, those arrogant Italian artisans who presumed to think that their tiny little outfit had an artistry flair superior to the corporate mass production of Ford.

Christian Bale plays Ken Miles, the difficult, impulsive, grumpy but brilliant Brit hired by Shelby as his star driver – to the irritation of the pointy-headed, bean-counting suits at Ford, who want an obedient team player. Tracy Letts plays Henry Ford Jr with gusto and Josh Lucas plays Leo Beebe, his creepy assistant. Jon Berthal does what he can with the underwritten and underimagined role of Lee Iacocca, the Ford executive whose idea it evidently was in the first place for Ford to go into the glamorous but costly world of motor racing.

The film comes to life briefly in the sudden jolts and crashes that occur when fiercely competitive drivers bash into one another, and we realise that, unlike most other sports, motor racing is life-threateningly dangerous and was especially so in the 60s. So, why are they doing it? Why is Miles pursuing something that could widow his beloved wife and make his son, Peter fatherless. What has it all been for? The glory of the Ford motor company? Selfish speed thrills? It’s a mystery that is unsolved at the end of this blandly sentimental movie, which can’t reach out beyond the petrolhead fanbase.

– Compilation