ABOUT THE FILM
American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
I went into the theater knowing very little of the Ford, Ferrari rivalry, and not ashamed to admit it. I tend not to pay too much attention to testosterone driven contests. Race cars haven’t been on the top of my priority list in the last decade and a half, even though I had started training as a race car engineer many moons ago. Funnily enough though, I had just the night before given my team a ‘pit stop’ challenge to try and get the team to look at ways to improve speed and precision for higher performance. Anyway, low and behold, I turn up to the cinemas, and there’s a film all about high performance cars and pit stops. It was fate.
To those of you out there who couldn’t give a rats behind about loud cars being driven around a track in circles by a bunch of dudes, go and see the film anyway, for the bloody good performances. Damon who plays Shelby, is very likable, and grounds his fellow actor, Bales, who plays the cantankerous, and rebellious Ken Miles, marvelously. The leading lady, played by Catriona Balfe is also quite a character, a strong and principled wife who is well matched with Bales and gives him a run for his money. Well, actually, all the cast are great, even the beautiful to look at, Josh Lucas, who plays the most annoying villainous executive you have ever seen, and who will inspire you to have bad thoughts of maybe just gagging him with a bit piece of fruit.
You know you have a well paced and well shot racing movie, when after one of the races, someone in the audience can’t help themselves but yell out “yeah” and fist pump the air. Just to be clear, that someone wasn’t me, though I was quite illogically doing my own fist pumping, inside. Of course, the film is slightly one-sided, in favour of the side that wins, but hey, that’s the nature of narrative story telling. If I wanted balance, I would go see a documentary. I’m not going to be precious about it, because who am I to be?
So, even from someone who thinks a car’s purpose is to get you from A to B, this one is definitely worth a special trip to the cinemas with maybe the whole family. It’s not your brainless, high octane Fast and Furious-type franchise, but is still highly entertaining.