Ford v Ferrari (2019)

NYET157-918_2018_192338

Food: This weekend I went with my aunt and uncle to an East Village Mexican restaurant with all vegetarian cuisine called Bar Verde. With deep turquoise walls, street facing windows, and a well curated bar in the center, it has a welcoming atmosphere. We started light, splitting the order of Guacamole Verde, which was made with chile, lime, cilantro, tomato and onion. I ordered the Farro Chorizo dish, consisting of three tacos stuffed with potato, cabbage, salsa roja, cashew crema and avocado. My aunt got the wild mushroom carnitas tacos complete with salsa verde, guacamole chilli and shaved rasish. Lastly, my uncle got the spicy cauliflower enchiladas, which included black beans, butternut queso, salsa enchilada, pepitas and nopales (if you like spicy!). We all argued about who had the best meal, so it sounds like you really can’t go wrong.

Film: A studio action film made for the big screen, “Ford v Ferrari” takes a historical look at the men behind the scenes when under Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) the Ford company took on the all time winning Italian luxury car manufacturer in the 24 hour Le Mans race. 

However, contrary to the title, the majority of the film focuses on two lesser known individuals who were main contributors to the Ford win, as opposed to the feud between Ford and Ferrari itself. The story looks at Carroll Shelley (Matt Damon), an American automotive designer who was hired by Ford to create the car for the race. He brought on his long time friend/foe British driver, Ken Miles (Christian Bale), to race the car and help him identify how to produce the best possible vehicle. 

In their attempt to succeed, the two butt heads with higher executives, namely Leo Beebe (“Sweet Home Alabama’s” Josh Lucas) who stifles their progress with his own concerns for public appearance. Miles was an exceptional race car driver and mechanic, but was also known for his spontaneity and unpolished demeanor.  Placing Miles’s family at the center, played by Caitriona Balfe and up-and-coming Noah Jupe), the film highlights how he was misunderstood by the leaders of the industry and establishes an arc that works simultaneously as an underdog story, and a story about fighting against the corporate “man.” 

Utilizing expert craftsmanship in this film, the cinematography by Phedon Papamichael is crisp and thoughtfully constructed to allowing the exciting action sequences to feel clear and effective. Not an easy feat. Further, “Ford v Ferrari” excels at production and sound design, allowing us to experience the heat of the race –  the speed, fear, rush of adrenaline and risk – without ever feeling chaotic or messy.

Both Damon and Bale deliver effortlessly strong performances, and there are even moments of levity where the chemistry between them shines, particularly one scene where they have a man-to-man brawl that calls to mind the incredibly embarrassing “Bridget Jones Diary” street fight between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.

“Ford v Ferrari” is an entertaining and heartfelt film that tells a great story. A simple formula that works well and manages to give us just enough controversy and character to encourage historical interest in a lesser known subject for some.  “We’re going to make history,” said Carroll Shelby. And they did.

 

 

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