Everyday Activist - Ford v Ferrari

Posted on Monday, December 02, 2019 at 06:00 PM

Ford v Ferrari

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

It’s not a documentary, but I absolutely loved the “based on a true story” film. So much about racing isn’t about driving at all. It’s about big business, often run by people who don’t care about anything except their image and the numbers. In the documentary, Senna, about the legendary Formula One driver, Aryton Senna, struggled to balance his love of racing with the politics of the sport. Ken Miles had the same battle as an English driver hired by an American company to win a race that they barely understood. Nothing has changed in decades. I would deliberately watch American commentary of F1, because they often had no idea what was going on. For serious commentators watch the British version.

Le Mans has different rules than most races. I don’t think that the audience or Ford for that matter, understood that the driver who goes the farthest in the allotted time wins; not the first one across the finish line. I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate the film was with material choices for cars at that time and showing how Ken Miles’ opinion was justified in respect to how the car drove. My knowledge of mechanics isn’t the best, but knowing the car composition explains some of the failures. The race scenes were okay, too polished and smooth to be realistic. Ron Howard did a much better job in Rush, though nothing compares to actual race footage.

In reality, the movie was less about racing and more about doing what it takes to pursue a passion against all odds for both Shelby and Miles. Ken Miles was an underdog, though he had the support of family and friends, even when sponsors were hesitant. Most importantly, his driving spoke for him. My heart broke for Shelby when the doctor told him that he couldn’t race, recalling three years ago when my doctor said I couldn’t snowboard anymore. After last year’s accident, the advice was upgraded to “If you have to wear a helmet, consider carefully if it’s worth doing.”

Director James Mangold commented that the movie could have been called Ford v Ford. All teams have rivalries and team orders, even Ferrari. I remember an F1 race, over a decade ago, where Felipe Massa was asked to let Michael Schumacher pass. When Schumacher retired, Massa's new teammate was Fernando Alonso. In addition to being an F1 champion, Alonso won Le Mans this year and last year. Sometimes the driver never leaves the car. Mangold hit the sweet spot for having just enough details to satisfy racing fans within the multiple dimensions of racing and a good story about underdogs keeping the pace sustainable for over two hours. 

Calgary Showtimes: Ford v Ferrari >


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