Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Automobile films seem to be top of the podium for attracting thrill seeking audiences, with the famous 'Fast & Furious' movies sky rocketing box office, and more recent adaptations like 'Rush' and 'Drive' stepping up to the wheels. I'm not ashamed to admit that even the Disney movie 'Cars' brings some needed adrenaline to my veins. So when I heard about a racing movie directed by James Mangold staring Christian Bale & Matt Damon, I was basically rubbing my palms together in the living room.
James Mangold directed one of my favourite movies of 2017, Logan, and he again smashes every angle of this wonderfully directed film. The infinite detail James shows with the cameras angles on the vehicles, whilst also portraying the two characters ambitions for driving, is outstanding. From the on set locations in California, Les Mans, and Mandello the production takes you out of your seat and throws you onto the tracks. Set in 1966, the scale of the set, costumes and make up were defining in telling the biography. My knowledge on cars is nonexistent, even though my dad worked for Ford for 35 years. However, you don't need to be Lewis Hamilton to watch the film, the script is written beautifully which helps the audience easily master both Fords & Ferraris vehicles, giving you a clear understanding of the defining moments for the narrative. Christian Bale's impeccable acting as Ken Miles is a charm to watch and he shines as the impulsive sarcastic racer. Alongside his talents, Caitriona Balfe plays Molly his wife with true lovingness, that their relationship grows freely in your mind as the tale unfolds. The SFX, editing, and sound effects leaves you squinting at the screen in fear of abandoning your own vehicle. The scene involving Tracy Letts as Henry Ford ||, when he suddenly bursts into tears after being dangerously raced around the track by Matt, is so incredibly moving as, back then, it would have been rare to see a man of this power exposed to this amount of emotion.
The movie is in total two hours and thirty two minutes, which is rather lengthly. If it wasn't for the comedic value the actors give off, and the one liners in between car chases, I could have switched my attention elsewhere in the prolonged scenes. One character I didn't feel was casted well for the drama was Josh Lucas role as Leo. I found his acting interfering at times and his authority, which was meant to be threatening for the story, didn't quite match his all to friendly persona.
In these troubling pandemic times, we are turning to every homebound enjoyment. Fantastic films let you emotionally delve into the story, and James Mangold gives you a tantalisingly watch as he makes no mistake to focus every detail of this famous story, depicting the past present and future of these passionate car enthusiasts. The film has an underlying theme of 'anyone can do it', and with some extreme cinematic efforts behind its belt, it lifts spirits for audiences; it might be the ideal watch for escaping the worryingly realities of our world right now.