Review By Frances Winston
Directed by: James Mangold – Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas
Motor racing is an exciting sport. However, motor racing movies are not always exciting. This is one that falls somewhere in the middle. It’s based on the true story of Ford’s rivalry with Ferrari in the 60s, where they determined to build a car that could destroy Ferrari’s racing dominance.
Obviously, that in itself mightn’t make a very engaging story, so instead we get the human element, with the focus being very much on the two men who were instrumental in building Ford’s new supercar, the Ford GT 40 Mk I – Carroll Shelby (Damon) and British racing driver, Ken Miles (Bale).
Shelby was somewhat of an automotive pioneer, and actually won Le Mans in 1959, but was forced to retire from racing due to a heart condition.
Meanwhile, Miles was a gifted driver and struggling mechanic, who had a fast temper and hot head, which didn’t make him the ideal fit for a lot of teams – until this opportunity came along.
Both men actually have interesting stories, and it is this, and the dynamic between Damon and Bale, that maintains the interest here. Although set in the world of racing, many of the scenes involving the cars revolves around the testing of prototypes, rather than actual racing, and there is quite a lot of jargon that may go over the head of a more casual motorsport fan. However, when they get to the big racing scenes in Daytona and Le Mans, they are indeed exciting and beautifully shot.
Thanks to the engaging characters, this should appeal even to those who haven’t a clue about racing, although it doesn’t always get the balance between the human drama and the technical aspects quite right.
However, some fabulous performances, and beautiful cinematography, do make up for this somewhat. It’s not the best racing movie ever made, and at two and a half hours it could be a bit shorter, but nonetheless it should be entertaining enough for most movie-goers.
In Cinemas Now!