Matt Damon does a lot of gum-chewing in James Mangold‘s newest film Ford v Ferrari (2019). When he’s not dealing with Josh Lucas‘s nonsense or trying to convince Christian Bale to calm down, Damon is chewing gum. In his portrayal of Carroll Shelby alongside Christian Bale’s Ken Miles, Matt Damon proves that he has come a long way from playing a math genius and a killer secret agent.
I did not know much about the film’s premise beyond it being based on real events. The main cast alone was reason enough for me to want to watch it. It’s definitely worth a movie theatre screening, even though it is 2.5 hours long and actually feels it. The chemistry between Matt Damon and Christian Bale keeps the non-racing scenes engrossing. One of my favorite scenes doesn’t involve racing…nor a car. This scene occurs when Matt Damon is telling Christian Bale about Ford’s intentions to build a race car to compete at Le Mans and that he should go to Ford’s new Mustang unveiling the next day.
The two men are in a diner and contrary to most dialogue pieces that take place in this setting, where the characters have just received their food and talk as they eat, this conversation happens after Christian Bale is already done eating and Matt Damon is picking at the last of his meal. He eats a bite of bread and some potato chips. Minimal risk of continuity errors relating to mastication. There’s another great scene where the two wrestle on a patch of grass. It’s not a long scene but it’s worth the admission price.
In addition to witnessing the strong chemistry between the film’s two leads, I appreciated the way in which Ford v Ferrari presents the speed at which a car can go as both beautiful and destructive. Outside the context of a proper race, a car that is going too fast is dangerous and not at all desired. But within the confines of a legitimate race? Speed is an adrenaline-thumping wonder of physics to behold.
Here’s James Mangold talking about the start of the climactic race.