Ford v Ferrari

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Christian Bale in Ford v Ferrari.
Christian Bale in Ford v Ferrari.
Screengrab: YouTube/20th Century Studios


5/5 Stars


France, 1966. American car designer Carrol Shelby and British driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary racecar for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


It seems almost unfathomable that a large chunk of metal can have within it so much soul and heart. That something created from steel and aluminium can carry such warmth and sincerity. But, in Ford v Ferrari that's exactly the story you'll find.

I never understood the fascination with cars or racing cars for that matter, until early 2019 when I discovered the inside world of F1 through a documentary series.

I had avoided watching it for weeks when I finally decided to give it a try. I reckoned I could surely give up five minutes of my life for a peek at what all the buzz was about.

Almost instantaneously I fell madly in love with the sport and soon I was watching the Grand Prix every second weekend on my couch by myself. Something that had not existed within my frame of reference just a few months earlier had now rather unceremoniously become my comfortable escape.

For the outsider, it might look like cars flashing round-and-round, but for those that get bitten by the racing bug, it's a whole world filled with characters, plot-lines, and nail-biting thrills that will keep you coming back for more.

Soon I found myself searching for racing documentaries, films, and any materials I could get my hands on to better understand the complexities of a niche world that has existed for decades, but that I had only just discovered.

The speeding bullets of steel no longer flash by me in a daze; instead, I know the driver's backstory, their goals, their struggles, and the battle they fight on the track. I become a passenger nervous and eager for my underdog team to surprise with a win.

When I got the opportunity to watch Ford v Ferrari in South Africa a week before its official release with the team of Shelby South Africa, it was one I couldn't say no to. Here was another part of the story I haven't heard much about, and I was eager to find out more.

Starring Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and a gaunt-looking Christian Bale as the legendary Ken Miles, this sporting drama starts like any other good race - filled with promises, it hits obstacles in the middle, and by the end hangs the giant question mark on whether or not the team you are rooting for can actually make it.

The film is beautifully directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line/Logan) who rather unceremoniously tells a beautiful part of racing history in the most unpretentious way at all possible.

With its thrills, conflict, and drama any moviegoer will be satisfied leaving the cinemas having watched a remarkable film, but the true fans will walk away with more. They'll understand the sacrifices, the danger, the desire-driven by an inexplicable inner-force, and the consequences.

Yes, I laughed out loud, did a few celebratory fist bumps in the air, and shed a tear when it touched on something deeply personal.

Cars are much more than just pieces of metal that get us from here to there. They are very often a time capsule representing our family members – a grandfather with an endless pit of knowledge on every car problem imaginable, a mother who taught you to change your first flat tyre, a road trip up the West Coast to an unforgettable destination with the ones you love.

But, as I know too well, the metal machine can also instantly change into a monster and change everything in less than a heartbeat

Ford v Ferrari is not about building a race car, it's about friendship, family, finding out who you truly are. Go watch with full abandon and embrace it will all you got. You won’t be sorry. 



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