This movie is based on the true story of how Ford went head to head with Ferrari in a battle to win Le Mans in 1966. What a superb cast: Christian Bale as Ken Miles, Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles, Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca, Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe, Noah Jupe as Peter Miles, Adam Mayfield as Lloyd Ruby, Ray Mckinnon as Phil Remington, Jj Feild as Roy Lunn, Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II, Marisa Petroro as Mrs. Henry Ford II, Roberta Sparta as Ferrari Guest, Brea Bee as Tiki Bar Waitress, Jonathan Lapaglia as Eddie and Stefania Spampinato as Ferrari Translator.
The voice over is journalists chatting about a race in several languages. We cut to Shelby (played by the reliabed Matt Damon) racing. He does a pitt stop. Shelby wins LeMans. We cut to a doctors office, Shelby has been diagnosed with an illness, an injury to the head. Shelby sadly quits racing. Then we cut to Ken Miles (played by the talented Christian Bale) fixing a clients car. This client is angry.
"A woman visits Ken. She gets flirtacious. It's his wife Mollie! hehe. Mollie is played by the stunning Caitriona Balfe. 'What type of girl are ya?' asks Ken. 'The type of girl that likes the smell of gasoline' Mollie replies hehe. There is great chemistry between these two actors"
We cut to the Ford motor company factory. The CEO (Henry Ford II played very well by Tracy Letts).
"Ford does a speech after turning off the production machines in the factory. Henry Ford says 'Hear that.. that's the sound of the Ford company going out of business'. Then he gives the staff an ultimatum. He wants them to walk home and to come to work the next day with a new idea or to stay home hehe. These business scenes are captivating. Tracy Letts as Henry Ford is in excellent form"We cut to a race. Shelby is a race admin, he wakes up late. Ken is having an argument with an admin.
The admin says his trunk isn't closing and Ken is on the verge of being disqualified. Ken hits the inside trunk with a hammer hehehe. Shelby arrives and calms him down.
"We cut to Ken racing. Ken actually talks to the other drivers while racing hehe. He jokes around with these drivers verbally and waits for his perfect opportunity to pass the leader. He does it! The car racing cinematography is close up. Awesome sound design and volume changing too"The sponsors say about Ken "he's difficult but good".
He goes home and his wife Mollie says the IRS came. She is worried about their family's funds and nest egg. Miles says its all ok. Mr Ford is in a meeting with a Ford Manager called Lee Iacocca (played by the talented Jon Bernthal). Lee is worried that Ferrari will overtake Ford. He comes up with a plan. Leo Beebe (played excellently by the reliable Josh Lucas), Vice President at Ford, questions Lee. Leo says that there has been a sales slump. Lee says that Enzo Ferrari makes less cars but they'll go down in history as the best car manufacturer. Lee also says that Ferrari is broke.
We cut to a meeting between Lee and Ferrari. Lee gets a tour of the Ferrari factory. Their Admins say that everything is hand built. Ford wants to buy into Ferrari, Lee proposes a merger. But news gets out then another local business man buys ferrari. Then after reading the proposal, Ferrari chairman gets angry at Lee and tells him off. He refuses the offer. Leo thinks that Enzo did that to up his price.
"Lee then says to Ford 'Enzo said your not Henry Ford, your Henry Ford the second'. This hurts Ford. Ford is furious and he says he wants to build a race car and bury ferrari. These business meetings are riveting, once again we see that Tracy Letts excelling as the fearless leader Henry Ford"Lee visits Shelby on behalf of Mr Ford. Shelby says that racing Ferrari is going to be difficult and challenging.
"Lee says 'even if we wrote a blank cheque... could you do it?'. Shelby agrees. He has a chat to Ken in a diner. He discusses the plan. Ken thinks the plan is outlandish. There is great Chemistry between Ken (Christian Bale) and Carroll (Matt Damon). Bale and Damon have created some unique characters here"Ken goes to a Ford show displaying the Mustang.
"Ken has an argument with Leo (vice president of Ford) and says the mustang was never that good and he rudely suggests to lower the price. Leo gets pissed off. Great acting by Josh Lucas. Even thought it's a supporting role this is a return to form for Josh Lucas"But Shelby arrives and they all get introduced. We cut to Lee chatting to Shelby. Lee wants to guide Shelby but Shelby wants to do his own thing. Shelby does a speech and praises Henry Ford. Ken looks on.
"Shelby visits Ken at night. Together they drive to the airport and test drive a fast Ford car. Ken says it's nothing special, the steering is loose, it wants to fly off. The cinematography here is captivating, you really experience the speed of this new car"We cut to Ken and his wife Mollie driving in a normal car.
"She drives fast and aggressively. Great acting. She's angry because Miles said he was done and he went back on his word. She doesn't want to lose her home. Ken says it's $200/day which was a lot of money back then. She cries but then agrees because the pay is good. Good realistic acting by Caitriona Balfe as Mollie"
We then cut to Miles on a desert track trialing the first version of the ford racing car. They tape little papers to the car to improve air resistance.
"Then they go to the test track. 'More of that please... more of that my girl... giddy up' says Ken whilst driving hehhe. Ken is goofy and funny, he also has a short fuse and doesn't like the managers. The managers don't like Ken either, they're after a more wholesome image. Christian Bale is funny as Ken, what a memorable performance"
What I liked was that Ken was both a mechanic and driver at the same time. They have to meet regulations like the height of the wheel. Shelby tells Ken the bad news.. they don't like his image. Ken just ignores Shelby. Ford comes third and places in a few races.
"Ken continues to tweak his Ford test car. His wife Mollie visits him. She brings a beer bottle and flirts with him. These romantic scenes are cool and the chemistry here is undeniable"
Shelby has a meeting with Ford. Ford is slightly angry. "We haven't learned how to corner... everything broke including the breaks" hehehe. Shelby pleads with him to trust him. Ford reminds Shelby that Ford's history was important. He is to report straight to him, Mr Ford. Shelby visits Ken, he wants him back. "This car ain't gonna build itself" says Shelby.
"Ken punches Shelby in the face hehehe. They grapple and fight on the ground, it's funny. The wife looks on calmly and sits on a chair. The both of them finally agree. What a great friendship, both of them have been through a lot together"Miles visits a track with his son. He gets philosophical about racing. "You feel the car groaning... if your going to push a machine, you have to be careful". We cut to Lee saying to Shelby that Leo wants Ken gone.
Ken is driving at the time and does a sharp corner and hits some obstacle, the car gets on fire. Ken quickly gets out. It was the breaks. His son is worried and asks an admin what happened. Driving was always a dangerous sport, we get hints of this through out the movie. We cut to Leo having a word with Shelby. Leo has been appointed racing director. Shelby locks Leo in the office hehe.
"Shelby then takes Mr Ford for a test drive. He on purposely drives real fast and dangerous. Exhilerating scenes. 'Yeah Baby!' says Mr Ford and he yells in panic. The car stops and Mr Ford cries in fear and in awe, it's funny. This is one of the funniest scenes in the movie hahaha!"Shelby wants Ken to drive. He strikes a deal: If Ken wins the next race he's in, if not Ford owns Shelby's company. We cut to the next race. Great camera angles and speed sounds. You feel like your there.
Shelby says that the competition pitts faster than they do. Mid race Ken chats to his wife. He races again. Shelby puts up a sign with a message for Ken, push it to the limit. Great sound design and you see the speedomiter which is cool. Ken pushes the car to the fastest speed right at the end and just wins the race. He also looked at the competitor driver and said "look at this now" hehehe. Leo reports that Team Shelby won to Mr Ford. Mr Ford is impressed.
Ken explains the LeMans track to his son. Ken goes to LeMans, France. He visits the track and Shelby is there. They have a good chat to calm the nerves. "If this was a beauty pageant... we just lost" Ken says about the Ferrari cars. The race car drivers have to line up and after the horn they have to run into their cars! hehe. I didn't know that this was the case in those days hehe. Modern races are not like this.
Early on their are accidents. Car parts go flying everywhere. Ken struggles to close hsi car door. It effects him. He stops for a pitt stop. They sledge hammer the door in place hehe. Ken breaks the track record. Ford swaps driver. Ferrari 20 gets into an accident. Shelby steals Ferrari's little clocks hehe.
"It rains at night, great intense driving scenes. The ford car looks very modern even by today's standards. The night racing is awesome. You can see that every corner is dangerous. The atmosphere on race day is exciting. As always with the racing scenes in this movie, great sound and cinematography. This helps the audience feel like a racer"
The admin shouts at Shelby to keep to regulations. Shelby drops a bolt nut near the pitt crew of Ferrari hehe. They start worrying that it was a missing part. Ken goes toe to toe with the Ferrari driver. Fantastic ambient sounds. Ken consistently passes Ferrari then they pass him. They look at each other through the window. Ferrari drivers motor breaks. Ford is going to place 1,2,3 which is amazing. Miles takes a rest.
Shelby says that Ken has to slow down and arrive same time as other two drivers. "I haven't been able to stop you before.. whatever you want to do is fine by me" says Shelby. Ken first breaks the lap record. Leo is worried that Ken will break the car. Miles is way ahead. He decides to listen to Shelby finally and bring his car in with the other Ford drivers.
The three Ford drivers come in at the same time. But the race admin says there is a dispute. MacLaren was ruled the winner because he started from the far back. Shelby apologises to Ken. Ken says "You promised me the drive, not the win". We cut to a desert track, Miles is testing another car.
"'There is a point at 7000rpm when the machine becomes weightless' says Shelby in the voice over. Ken Car gets on fire and he passes away. We are reminded of the dangers of racing. In the character of Ken we see a dedicated mechanic and driver who cherished this racing world. Fantastic acting by Bale"
Shelby is sad and the other admins want Shelby to be himself again. "It's been 6 months Shell" says an admin ford man. Shelby visits Ken's wife Mollie. He chats to Pete, Miles son and gives him a wrench that belonged to Miles. "Your daddy was.." says Shelby. "He was your friend" says Pete. He waves to Mollie. He starts his car, hears the engine and drives off. Great ending. Text says that this Ford car was the only american car to win at LeMans.
What a great movie. Very simple easy to understand plot and great memorable characters.
"Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby created a cheeky goofy character that was dead set on achieving the impossible, to win at LeMans. Christian Bale was both intense and funny as Ken Miles. Together they formed a great duo. I loved the commanding performance of Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II. Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe was in fine form. Jon Bernthall did a great job as the serious Lee Iacocca. Caitriona Balfe's acting was memorable as the sexy Mollie Miles (Ken's wife). What a super ensemble cast"This movie's plot was very simple, get Ford to LeMans. Yet it was the relationships between the characters and the business scenes that drive the movie. I must say the sound design and cinematagraphy of the race alone made the movie essential viewing. What an exciting 2hr 32min.