The true story about the competition of Henry Ford and Enzo Ferrari in 1966 has indeed become the basis of the story of the film titled Ford v Ferrari by director James Mangold.
Through Ford v Ferrari, Mangold tries to show the other side of the sport of racing, namely the conflict between team operations and business interests.
Ford v Ferrari originated from the initiative of Lee Iacocca (John Bernthal) to persuade Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) to acquire the racing division of the Italian car manufacturer, Scuderia Ferrari. According to Iacocca, the acquisition of the Ferrari racing division will help Ford to enter one of the most prestigious races in the world, Le Mans 24 Hours. On the other hand, if Ford can also win Le Mans, Iacocca believes it will boost sales of Ford’s flagging cars.
Henry gave the green light to Iacocca to buy a Ferrari racing division that was almost bankrupt. However, beyond Iacocca’s expectations, Ferrari flatly rejected Ford’s offer. Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) prefers to be acquired by the compatriot, FIAT. Not stopping there, Enzo also insulted Henry, who he thought was only a family car manufacturer, not a racing car.
Offended by Enzo’s insults, Henry vowed to finish off Ferrari at Le Mans 66. He immediately sent Iacocca to establish the Ford racing division. Without thinking, Iacocca immediately recruited a car designer and former US racer, Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who had won Le Mans in 1959. Shelby accepted Ford’s offer, on condition he was given the freedom to regulate team operations and choose drivers for Ford.
Ironically, it is not the US racer Shelby chose to drive a very American Ford. He chose Ken Miles (Christian Bale), a war veteran, a mechanic, as well as a British racer. According to Shelby, Miles was the most complete rider: Fast and a technical expert. Even so, he acknowledged that Miles was a rider that was difficult to manage and only a matter of time Miles would cause problems with Ford.
Sure enough, Miles joined Ford recently, he was labeled problematic by Ford’s senior executive, Leo Bebee (Josh Lucas). According to Bebee, Miles’ character is not “Ford” and that is dangerous for the company’s image going forward. Not wanting to know that Miles is a fast racer, Leo prefers riders who are slow but fit with Ford’s image.
As said before, the uniqueness of the Ford v Ferrari is in the angle it takes. While most racing films such as Driven, Days of Thunder, or Rush focus on rivalry between racers, Ford v Ferrari focuses on “rivalry” in the business and operational interests of the team. Director James Mangold tries to show that a racing team needs more than speed to be a champion. To be a champion, a racing team must also be able to fight business interests.
Various kinds of conflicts between racing team operations and business interests were pared out at Ford v Ferrari. One of them, besides the case of choosing a racer, is how the team must finish the race. On various occasions, Bebee’s character tried several times to take over the leadership of the team from Shelby’s hands, even in the middle of the race, on the pretext of protecting Ford’s interests. Bebee will not hesitate to ask the rider to budge if he feels it’s the best for Ford.
Unfortunately, the dispute between the team and Ford’s business interests here was too black and white. There isn’t a single part in the film that at least tries to justify Bebee’s actions. Shelby’s camp is entirely like a hero, while Beebe’s side is the villain. The development of both conflicts is very predictable. Even so, this does not hurt the preoccupation of the film as a whole.
Apart from Ford v Ferrari’s main focus is on the internal side of Ford, this 2.5 hour long film does not forget itself. The racing side at the Ford v Ferrari is also worked out well. Le Mans 24 Hours at Ford v Ferrari appeared tense and tense, full of accidents and overtaking overtaking. Various parts are able to suck up the audience so that it feels as if they are in a Ford GT40 driven by Miles. Games Online dan Offline
In reality, Le Mas 24 Hours can be very boring. The race actually lasts for 24 hours where not all the contents are filled with overtaking salip action. However, James Mangold managed to package the endurance racing race to be concise and full of driving action that is able to make imaginary feet come to press the accelerator and clutch.
It must be recognized that not a few parts of the Ford v Ferrari race are hyperbolic and unrealistic. One of them is how to overtake only the case of changing gears. Simply changing gears, which seemed limitless, Ken could suddenly approach the race opponent. In fact, there are various things that can be shown to make the race feel more realistic, such as showing drafting, oversteering, double clutching, heel-toe shifting, and much more.
How about acting? There is nothing entirely special about the actor’s acting nor the actress in Ford v Ferrari. Bale and Damon’s acting is not bad, it’s just that their character is too simple. Shelby is an All-American Hero, almost perfect inside and out without any significant character flaws. Meanwhile, Ken’s character is too genius, hilarious, without sides that can make the audience wonder about his motivation to race. In short, Shelby and Ken’s characters are too easy for Damon and Bale caliber actors.
Finally, the Ford v Ferrari is a good movie that is watched both by fans of racing sports and new fans. His racing action was of high quality and he managed to explore conflicts that were rarely reviewed before. Unfortunately, Ford v Ferrari is too predictable.