The film tells about the relationship between American car designer Carroll Shelby and the brave British racer Ken Miles, who together challenged corporations and their own demons to create a completely new sports car that could compete with Ferrari at the World Championships held in France in the mid-1960s.
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An ordinary viewer, seeing the poster of the film Ford vs. Ferrari, will receive an obvious chain of associative impressions. The name itself largely fits into the context of the modern Hollywood trend of interbreeding popular images for a colorful demonstration of their spectacular confrontation. Famous Hollywood actors, a more or less stereotypical plot, powerful action scenes diluted with a touch of drama – thatÂs, in fact, all the input data of the audience before going to the cinema. However, with this picture, everything is not so simple. To begin with, it is worth considering the ideological background and the cultural context of the racing film genre itself, which is more important than ever for the American public. This will allow you to feel the importance and scale of what is happening on the screen.
America is a country inspired and erected in the field of the automotive industry. In its very cultural code, highways, cars, and everything connected with them are of primary importance. One of the most important figures in its history is Henry Ford – who changed not only the appearance of the country, but its very ideology. While the vast majority of the world’s population rode horses, Mr. Ford was already actively supplying citizens of his country with cheap and affordable vehicles with a growling engine. The car, in its way, has become a public asset – completely changing the architecture of cities and the very way of life of Americans. Entire areas were lined up where you could only get on an iron horse, and the citizens themselves, in turn, mainly worked at automobile plants. Therefore, the defeat in the race from the poor Italians was a kind of national shame. But that is not all.
In the period about which the film is narrated, Ford’s influence in the world has noticeably decreased. European automobile concerns rising from their knees after the abyss of the Second World War began to squeeze the share of the most popular cars. The vector of the direction of auto production itself has changed – with the active development of capitalism, more and more expensive and exclusive cars began to appear, actively bought by wealthy billionaires, often just for collection. Enzo Ferrari was, and still is, a symbol of a new orientation, making an absolute bet on quality to the detriment of quantity.
Going into details, one can easily notice how closely interconnected such things as participation in racing competitions with the merciless competition of auto concerns, which, in turn, rely heavily on the foreign and domestic policies of states. Therefore, it would be naive to believe that Ford vs Ferrari is just a biopic about high speeds and beautiful victories, in many ways this is a picture of a clash of two ideological principles in which, on the one hand, metaphorically expressed popular democracy, backed by the corporate spirit of freedom, is opposed to European egocentrism, on the other hand, inside the purely American corporate spirit, a war is unfolding between the individual and the merciless system presented under the bright label of the world brand. Like any war, this one also requires its victims. And there are many, as history shows. Thus, the James Mangold film tries to work on two levels – on the first we see a nominal story about male friendship, courage, ingenuity and mortal risk, on the second – ideological, we understand that the film is hidden, but it no less effectively rotates its ideological work . First, let’s analyze the level of drama.
It is immediately worth noting that Mangold’s impeccably successful thing was to closely connect external expressive entertainment with internal drama. Ken MilesÂs fate line, which captures a peculiar friendship with Shelby, obviously prevails and takes a huge part of the screen time. Moreover, the concepts that determine the life of a hero ultimately prove to be dominant. At one point, the storyline turns towards the approval of simple conservative values – there is nothing more valuable in this world than family and friendship. Despite the seemingly banality of this truth, the director and scriptwriters manage to present it without a false sense of pathos, but even, if I may say so, it is extremely dry and realistic, which makes its effectiveness at times.
However, although the narrative basis of the film itself seems to many to be impeccable – from an objective point of view this is not entirely true. All the advantages of history are taken from life itself – literally every turn of the plot or deep dramatic conflicts in the characters’ characters exactly repeat the story. That is why the film provides food for thought. But still, in general, the picture works ideologically on several levels.
At the first, as already noted, two cultural strata collide – European and American – the first gravitates to motorsport as an art, the second as a business, Ferrari seeks out the best craftsmen who assemble his cars manually, Ford hires engineers and buys the latest equipment. In the second, Ken Miles together with Shelby try to find a middle ground between bright individualism, bringing victories and repressions of corporate etiquette of large concerns, which all laurels of the winner seek to appropriate. The truth, of course, turns out to be somewhere between them – the pilot wins the race, but hundreds of people participate in it, each of which gives it two hundred percent. Awareness of this truth by the individualist hero is the most important plot twist of the film. Finally, at the third and, perhaps, the main level of perception, Mangold already represents the fate of the rider from a philosophical point of view. More than once in the film they will repeat to us that the existential borderline situation for the pilot occurs at seven thousand revolutions – just then, balancing in milliseconds from nonexistence, he discards the shackles of his personality and understands who he really is. In the very concept of the race, Mangold reveals its philosophical essence – for the rider, the car is a kind of continuation of bodily existence, it is a form of art, an almost perfect creation is akin to the divine, an attempt to overtake fate itself at a speed of three hundred and fifty kilometers. For riders, this is just real life, while everything else is just a protracted pit stop. However, it is known that fate is always ahead and is already waiting for you near the finish line.
Summarizing, it is worth noting that the film is extremely good not only from the content side (which the truth was pretty spoiled by purely Hollywood cliches), but leaves a strong visual impression. There is a charming illusion in this retrospective look half a century ago that it was then that everything was truly real – nepotism, friendship, honor, and corporations were controlled by individuals, not money. Well, as for the basis of the film – the races themselves, we note that Mangold managed to catch some mysterious transcendental tempo – there are no catchy scenes, no stunning special effects, no crazy angles, rather it is a purely classic super talented and in some places even modest shooting. The director simply did his work with inspiration, diligence and honesty, apparently taking an example from such glorious people as Carol Shelby and Ken Miles. But it is precisely such people who make history.
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish