Le Mans 66 - Review (London Film Festival 2019)
Need for Speed. 4 / 5
Directed by James Mangold. American car designer Carroll Shelby and the British-born driver Ken Miles work together to battle corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
Fast and loud throughout, Le Mans '66 (Ford v. Ferrari overseas) is a refreshing look back at motoring history with some good old-fashioned competition thrown in for good measure.
Bale and Damon are magnificent with colliding personalities which is ultimately what makes their on-screen chemistry so watchable. With Bale rocking his natural British accent for his role of Ken Miles, which brought a brilliant amount of wit and sarcasm to this very Americanised film.
The ultimate dad film, there is obviously a large focus on races and driving. Now, I don't know the first thing about cars, if anything not knowing anything about Le Mans made it more interesting and thankfully did not hinder my experience. The racing sequences were fantastic, director Mangold gives clear geography, stakes, and motivation in the scenes making it easy to follow and immersive to watch.
The UK title of Le Mans '66 is actually a more fitting title but I guess Fox saw the Ford and Ferrari names as more marketable and recognisable to a wider audience. It is a very ego-inflating film towards the USA, focusing on the brilliant American achievements that contributed to the outcome. As the small Italian lady next to me said as the credits rolled: "Make America great again I guess."
The pacing does take its time over the long runtime but it doesn’t drag for a moment, every scene has a purpose. A triumphant film about friendship, rivalry, and the search for the perfect lap.
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