‘Ford v. Ferrari’ shines light on unsung hero

start your engines—Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, runs tests on the engine that Ford Motor Co. is going to put in their race car as Carroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and other Ford employees stand around and watch.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

By Andrew Ayala

“Ford v Ferrari” is an emotional rollercoaster, which tells the tale of two men who overcome their demons and defy physics to build Ford Motor Co.’s racing team.

American car designer Caroll Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and British driver Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, are both struggling to find a sense of direction and purpose in life. 

Shelby has health issues which don’t let him race like he once did and Miles has financial struggles after continually following his dream and passion for cars without proper financial backing.

The film takes place in 1966, and really begins to take off when a deal between Ford and Ferrari goes sour because of false pretenses. 

As a result, Fiat acquires Ferrari which infuriates Henry Ford II, played by Tracy Letts, and causes him to want to enter Ford Motor Co. into a race called the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This is a race that is held in Le Mans, France and lasts 24 hours.  

Shelby and Miles find themselves battling personal problems and an executive assistant to Ford named Leo Beebe, played by Josh Lucas, who feels his opinion is always the best.

Ken Miles shows the most character progression and shines through out the whole movie.

The chemistry between Damon and Bale is brother-like and natural. There is no awkwardness in the interactions between the two and other characters, which makes the film run smooth. 

Both are masters of their craft and seem to understand what it takes to depict a non-fictional character and bring that person to life on the big screen.

The cinematics and camera angles play a huge role in this film to show the intensity and danger of driving these vehicles at such high speed. When there is a scene that has a more serious tone, close-up angles are used to add pathos. 

The point-of-view shots are intriguing because the audience is literally put into the driver’s seat and have the opportunity to get a better understanding of the adrenaline and sudden changes that come with racing. 

If watching the film in a theater that supports Dolby Cinema, viewers will feel the revving and rumbling of the cars under their seats.

Most biopics tell the story they are reenacting and have a central message, but this film does a wonderful job at sending multiple messages throughout its runntime. 

Themes of selfishness, forgiveness, love and determination are expressed through both main and supporting characters. 

There really isn’t a dull moment, even during the parts that show the relationship between Miles, his wife Mollie Miles, played by Caitriona Balfe, and his son Peter Miles, played by Noah Jupe, because these scenes show progression and growth as a family.

“Ford v Ferrari” is a film that all can enjoy because of the quality of the story and the richness of the plot. 

Viewers don’t have to be car enthusiasts or even know anything about cars to understand this fascinating story of loyalty and determination. 

The movie was released on Friday and is rated PG-13 for some language and intense scenes.

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