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TIFF 2019 Review: Ford v Ferrari – “Exhilarating both on and off of the track”

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In order to have the Ford Motor Company be the car of choice for Baby Boomers, Henry Ford II decides to build a vehicle that can win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and beat Ferrari; however, he needs to rely on car designer Carroll Shelby and race car driver Ken Miles with neither of them taking kindly to corporate interference.

Ford v Ferrari is based on the real-life story about how Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966 after years of domination by Ferrari; key to the success was the partnership of former race car driver turned car designer Carroll Shelby and racer Ken Miles.  The relationship between Shelby and Miles is forged out of brotherly love and respect for each other.  Unfortunately, the suits based in Detroit want to direct traffic rather than sit on the sidelines and watch the duo take them for a high-speed ride.

There are cliché elements as Enzo Ferrari feels two not three dimensional as a person and in the way so does Leo Beebe, the public relations executive who cannot keep his hand off of the wheel.  That being said, Ford v Ferrari is exhilarating both on and off of the track.   The heart and soul of the story is the chemistry of Matt Damon and Christian Bale as Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles; there is a fight that take places between them that comes across as feuding middle-aged siblings rather than Jason Bourne battling Batman and it is funny.  Solid supporting acting is provided by Catriona Balfe as the wife of Miles and Noah Jupe as his son as well as Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II and Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca.

As for the cinematography, sound design and editing, the story and imagery hum along at a pace that is breathtaking but also allows for some emotional and humourist pit stops along the way.  Ford v Ferrari has been described as old-fashioned moviemaking with the emphasize on real cars and practical sets which is very much true.  Full credit to James Mangold who clearly knows what he wants and simply goes about achieving it.  There is a moment where the story could have ended but Mangold takes events beyond the finish line and adeptly manoeuvres a bittersweet conclusion.

Check out all of our TIFF coverage
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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