Ford v Ferrari Takes Us On An Enthralling Ride With Christian Bale and Matt Damon
One of the year’s top awards contenders raced into theaters full throttle, as Disney-Fox’s Ford v Ferrari scored the top spot at the box office and a rare perfect grade from audiences.
Directed by James Mangold and starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, the movie feels like a character study strapped into an action flick. It is based on the marketing of the Ford Brand, that much is obvious. In that respect, where Ford v Ferrari is a treat to watch for any cinemagoer, it is a double-treat for the professionals, teachers, and students of Marketing.
The star-cast includes Matt Damon (as the owner of the company Shelby American), and Christian Bale (who actually has the lead role) as the mechanic and racing driver who is assigned with an experiment.
A movie about pride
It’s undeniable that cars, or discussions of cars, feature in almost every scene, and that one car is pushed so close to its limits that its wheels, inside their rims, glow like the heart of a forge. Yet this is not, in essence, an automotive film.
It’s a film about pride – about being as proud of your own flesh and blood as you are of your metal machines, and about the craziness that flares up whenever pride gets hurt.
It is all intertwined with 5 entities playing their respective roles – with unequal screen time: Ford, Ferrari, Fiat, Shelby American, and Le Mans – the car racing organizers.
Henry Ford II v Enzo Ferrari
It’s the mid-nineteen-sixties, and we’ve just seen Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone), in his Italian stronghold, brusquely reject a takeover bid from Ford. The bad news is brought back to the boss. Told of Ferrari’s insults, he doesn’t flinch at first, until the final jab, “You’re not Henry Ford. You’re Henry Ford II.” That does it. That hits home.
He is the prince, stuck in the shadow of the king and seeking to cast his own light. Upon hearing those words, his eyes, as hard as stones are a declaration of war. Now he must beat Ferrari at their own turf and for that, he needs a team of genius minds to come up with a motor race car to go toe to toe with Enzo Ferrari’s scarlet and white machine.
The battle is to be joined on the racetrack at Le Mans. Ferrari, who has won the fabled twenty-four-hour race four times in the past five years, must and will be dethroned. No pressure. To that end, Ford brings in Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who was a co-driver in the Aston Martin that won Le Mans in 1959, and who will now attend to the birth of a new vehicle, specifically designed to be a Ferrari-whipper. Oh and, he has 90 days to do all of that!
Shelby, in turn, brings in Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who is a genius mechanic and swifter than any other driver on the circuit. Together, they must overcome the Ford hierarchy’s narrow-mindedness and Ferrari’s dominance to secure the Le Man title for Henry Ford II and restore his pride.
Had there been Oscars specifically for marketing movies, my vote without question would’ve been for Ford v Ferrari. And watching it once will not do justice for the Marketing citizens as there are hundreds of lessons embedded. Even if you are not a marketing professional, Ford v Ferrari is an absolute treat until the end.