-a wild ghost, aka me, appears-
I’m back with a review of a movie I saw last week that deserves a lot more attention. I’m not usually a huge car-movie-person. But this movie was absolutely amazing.
Hence the review. -bows off the stage-
Ford v Ferrari
American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
I recently watched this really good video talking about the right and wrong ways to do pacing in movies, and this was something that stood out hugely to me in this movie, because it did it… pretty much perfectly. The balance of disasters and victories and tension and underlying problems was just really, really well done. The storyline (which I was kind of expecting to be one of the weaker things) was really gripping and interesting and perfectly paced to keep me engaged.
So there’s that rule in writing of “show, don’t tell”, right? You’d think movies would be exempt from that because they’re sort of… inherently showing you everything. But movies can be pretty on-the-nose about things if they’re not careful. And this movie showed me just how much more showing a movie can do for the audience.
Seriously, one of my favorite things in this movie was the way they’d show you different things, and let you get some association with that thing or that action. And then the thing would come back later. And all they’d have to do is show you a tiny glimpse of “remember this thing?” and it would add such a great effect.
Like showing the consequences of what could go wrong at the race early on when not a lot of stakes were involved. And then harking back to it just enough to make you scared for that happening again.
Or showing Peter Miles being scared for his dad, not by him genuinely going up and saying “I’m scared my dad’s gonna crash, is he?”, but having a really quiet conversation with one of the other mechanic guys asking him some small details about crash safety.
This angle of the writing was just… it was really great.
Alright, going in here, I’m actually not a huge fan of Christian Bale or Matt Damon. Their movies are okay but I’ve never… thought either of them were super outstanding as actors.
But I adored them in this movie.
Both of their characters were really engaging and made the story really interesting to follow. They were very dynamic and had an interesting and fun relationship going on between the two of them. Aaand they were actually human-feeling and had faults and made bad decisions, but grew as people by the end of the movie.
It was awesome.
Come on guys, 60s racing and cars in general? They really had just a cool dusty, warm, grungy color feel to this whole thing. And there were a few really cool shots I liked. It was well filmed and overall nice looking.
- Theme and relationships
The way they ended out the theme sort of surprised me, honestly. And it was definitely a good surprise because it’s basically the opposite of all “big race!” genre stories I’ve seen before. No spoilers, but it was impressively done.
And I mentioned something about the relationships up above under characters. But again. I really liked the dynamic between the two main characters. And also Ken Miles and his whole family relationship was one of the purest things ever and it felt so realand it was a joy to watch.
Not actually super bad? But there were occasional swears, and one f-bomb was dropped, so general warning of that.
In no way is my writer side unhappy with this, and it’s hard to complain when you know that… historically this is what actually happened.
But that doesn’t stop it from kind of being a bummer. There were definitely some tears shed at the end.
- Beginning nitpick
My only nitpicky writer remarks come from the beginning here. The intros we got of Shelby and Miles made me think they were going to play opposite roles for who was building and who was driving the car, since they very clearly introduced Shelby as a racecar driver and a speedy dude. And then we meet Miles as he’s tinkering on a car and rambling on about mechanical things.
Plus we got this sort of “oh no Shelby has heart problems” subplot introduced right off the bat that never really went anywhere?
Kind of small things, but those stuck in my head as slightly bothersome.
High quality writing, cool action, fantastic action and great filming. A really, really great movie, go watch it now.
SO. Those are my thoughts.
What do you think? Have you seen the movie? Think you will? Comment below!
See you guys later ❤