Movies like this are no longer made: it is possible that someone comes to mind that phrase Ford v. Ferrari, and he may be quite right. As if the film itself were aware of that anachronistic quality, of classic cinema made of close-ups of measured expressiveness and memorable secondary characters and universal topics wrapped in a story that is all peculiarity, everything in it is bathed in the light of another era as it was embodied in advertising images that are already mythical: that full sunlight of the American West in the sixties, the white smiles on the faces tanned by the sun, the happy people with their bottle of Coca Cola.
Ford v. Ferrari is the new film by James Mangold, the director of the dissimilar Innocence Interrupted (1999), Walk the Line (2005) and Logan (2017), and tells, like all great movies, several things at once: first instead, the attempt of the Ford company to catch up with the tastes of a new generation, that of the baby boomers, who sought adventure, glamor and speed where their parents had sought solidity and reliability.
Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) needs to find a way to change the profile of his brand and move from the boring and predictable family cars to new models that compete in the desire of the buyers with those of Ferrari. Watch now the movie to see how he does.
For that, Ford intends to build race cars that can beat the Ferrari team in Le Mans, and summons the former driver and owner of a small car factory Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who in turn claims to be let work with the best driver he knows, Ken Miles (Christian Bale). The mission is not as transcendent as the lunar expedition portrayed, among others, by The First Man on the Moon (2018), but Mangold gets it to be. First, because he takes his time to build his protagonists and the relationship between them, one of those great male friendships that start from mutual distrust and secret admiration.
Carroll Shelby is a rough Texan, as much as Matt Damon can be, but he doesn't get his hands dirty, and Christian Bale is an independent and stubborn Briton accustomed to working alone in his Los Angeles auto shop, always in greasy overalls and a rag hanging from the pocket, a laborer who could spend his life buried in his workshop if it wasn't because he comes across someone who sees beyond, just the kind of guy who can negotiate with a company.
Because a theme of weight in the film is just genius in the context of a business where to invoice and put the brand above individuals is what is imposed; In that sense, there is something heroic in the protagonists but also a permanent malaise that derives from the need to move in the narrow frame that Ford gives them, very intelligently propped up by two subalterns of the company rather mediocre and petty, watch it online to see how it ends.
That is the point at which perhaps any spectator, beyond having ever been behind the wheel of a car, can empathize with the protagonists (and also, of course, the self-referential point of how to make good cinema within the industry) because it is about the question of survival of conquering certain freedoms in the context of a system that exceeds and crushes us, but also enables us.
Ford v. Ferrari does not idealize neither the business world nor the manufacturing tradition of the United States, but these characters who can achieve something great in that context by working as a team, and it is a film so generous that every aspect - the family of Ken Miles, the wife that plays Caitriona Balfe, of Outlander, every scene of Ken Miles with the son on the tracks, the noise of the engines and the physical effort of mastering a machine that can also be a deadly weapon - it is an experience as endearing as a kind of live-action cars.