All four names pop up prominently in the highly entertaining movie Ford v Ferrari, which follows Henry Ford II's (irreverently known as "Deuce" in the movie) desire to knock off perennial champion Ferrari in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans road race during the early to mid-1960s. If successful, it's a way to make the otherwise staid Ford Motor Company into something sexy for the post-war Baby Boomers who are about to buy, umm, sexy cars like Mustangs and Thunderbirds. It's all about the bottom line, you know.
|The real Ken Miles (left) and Carroll Shelby at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.|
That's pretty much the plot gist of what is actually a mostly true story.
But the flick is more than a movie about auto racing. It's a story that explores, in turns, friendship, corporate interference, family, failure and success.
Consequently, the performances of Damon and Bale are especially deep, rich and character-building. Nuances are noteworthy, right down to the gum chewing. You feel like you get to know these guys as they get to know – and trust – each other. You are drawn into their world and you don't necessarily want to get out.
|A Ford Mark II GT40 looks fast even while sitting still.|
And because the movie is a period piece, you're going to enjoy seeing all those what are now classic cars tooling around in the background. Trust me. I once owned a 1966 Wimbledon white convertible Mustang and this movie got me misty-eyed – and more than once.
Although the running time approaches two-and-a-half hours, time flies by, which might not be the case if you're watching Frozen II or Arctic Dogs for 152 minutes. And while it's not all about auto racing, as I've already explained, the last half hour or so takes you to the 1966 Le Mans, virtually putting you in the cockpit with Miles, downshifting and accelerating through S-turns, hairpins and straightaways.
The movie can be exhilarating and breathtaking all at once. You might find yourself cheering, if not actually gripping the arms of your theater seat, just to hold on. Blame the compelling cinematography.
You might even find yourself downshifting.