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373. Ford v Ferrari; movie review

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Title : 373. Ford v Ferrari; movie review
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Cert 15
152 mins
BBFC advice: Contains infrequent strong language, moderate threat

Wow, wow and thrice wow. I am not a fan of motor racing but I reckon that Ford v Ferrari could well be my film of the year.
A riveting (slight pun intended) true story which looks stunning and is carried off superbly by Christian Bale and Matt Damon.
Oh, and I must make mention of the direction of James Mangold. He and his writers have made a fabulous mainstream film from what could have been inaccessible material to most.
Mangold's film traces the competition between two great motor companies to win the Le Mans 24-hour race.
Damon stars as former winner Carroll Shelby whose heart condition prevents him from competing but who agrees to design a car which can take Ford to victory.
He enlists Ken Miles (Bale), a Brummie immigrant to America who is known for being hot-tempered by an extremely fast racer and a genius designer.
Miles is anti-establishment and needs much persuasion to work for Ford, knowing their corporate machinery will want to, in his words "stick their oar in".
In truth, however, he is a poor businessman and his financial circumstances and pressure from his wife (Caitriona Balfe) mean that he agrees to a well-paid deal.
It is far from a match made in heaven.
Indeed, much of the story surrounds Miles banging heads with the Ford high-ups - in particular, Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), its senior executive vice president.
Actually, there is great deal of Brummie humour in a lot of Miles's antics but I couldn't help wondering what wider audiences would make of his language (how would Americans understand around the Wrekin, for example?).
I digress. Bale is mesmerising as Miles. Full of bullish grit and determination, a fast as lightning with put-down lines but a loving father and husband and loyal friend.
He certainly provides much of the fun in a movie which made me chuckle throughout.
Indeed, one scene involving Damon and Tracy Letts who plays Henry Ford II is the most hilarious in movies this year.
And then there are the mind-boggling track scenes during which I felt I was in the racing car's cockpit as it dodged spectacular crashes and hit speeds of more than 210mph.
Sure, there is plenty of material in here for petrol heads and they will be wowed but the nuances of how Ford took the fight to Ferrari.
There is also much for those who enjoy a David vs Goliath battle.
But, as with any great racing car team - Ford v Ferrari is a challenger for film of the year because of the sum of its terrific parts.

Reasons to watch: The cinematography, the story, the acting...
Reasons to avoid: Ok, there are a few liberties taken.

Laughs: Three
Jumps: None
Vomit: Yes
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 9.5/10

Did you know? Ken Miles was born in Sutton Coldfield and left school at the age of 15 to work as an apprentice at Wolseley Motors, who sent him to a technical school to broaden his knowledge of vehicle construction. He raced motorcycles before he served as a tank commander in World War 2.

Final word. Christian Bale: "The script? Just like watching a film, so much depends on what mood you’re in and how your day has been and all that. It’s the same thing with reading a script, I find anyway. You know, I don’t get it, at all. This one was instantly mesmerising, I couldn’t put it down." Top Gear

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