Tackling issues of corporatism yet staying true to its car movie format, Ford v Ferrari is a long run time, fast-moving Half Biopic, Half Docudrama. Starring Matt Damon as the car designer, Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale as the legendary driver, Ken Miles, it does not merely portray the greatest race in the world—Le Mans—but depicts corporate influence in sports, which is still prevalent today.
In the 1960s, Ford was known for making boxy cars. To move them out of this bubble, two marketing suits pitched an idea to associate Ford with racing and glamour. After a failed bid to buy Ferrari, Henry Ford II started the Ford race team. With the help of Carroll Shelby, they set out to design a car capable of winning the 24 Hours at Le Mans, the premier endurance race. They ran into obstacles, largely from within the company, as Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), a slimy corporate suit, holds back their best driver, Ken Miles.
Ford V Ferrari was clearly made with the Petrolhead audience in mind, but it does manage to get out of that genre. From Ken Miles’ wife’s support through danger and crashes, it portrays the danger in sports. Even more relevant, the pictured corporate oppression of Ford is similar to the recent allegations against Nike for letting corporate PR get in the way of their athletes wellbeing, reminding us that sports have always had the backdrop of companies, and in a lot of cases, corporate oversight holds athletes back, instead of helping them. Ford V Ferrari succeeds in exciting the viewer with close-to-the-road and in-car shots of the thrilling race, as well as realistic car sound effects. While the film is highly predictable, it does not fail at appealing to action fanatics and Petrolheads. Overall, I would rate this 4/5, being held back by a long run time and an unsurprising storyline.