Movie Review by Rishi Kapoor
One of the best car racing movies ever made with one of the best ensembles casts.
Based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled 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.
James Mangold, who directed Logan in 2017, brings back the good old ’60s feel to the two-and-a-half-hour movie. The storyline is extremely simple, and even people with little or no knowledge of professional racing should find it engaging. This is a masterful drama that features the best performances of Matt Damon’s and Christian Bale’s respective careers, the film a rip-roaring symphony of screeching tires, terrifying collisions, checkered flags and complex friendships that’s nothing short of glorious. The cast are all at the top of their game, which is why I think both Damon and Bale will receive Oscar nominations, obviously in different categories despite the fact they are really co-leads. Bale in particular transforms himself into Ken Miles so perfectly that you forget it’s Christian Bale and feel like you’re watching hidden camera footage of Miles. He is probably the biggest challenger to Joaquin Phoenix’s frontrunner performance in Joker.
But don’t sleep on Damon’s charismatic turn as Carroll Shelby, his chemistry with Bale and his “idling at 5,000 rpms” work ethic serving as fuel that keeps the story running when everyone else seems at their breaking point. The rest of the cast is full of standouts.
The screenplay by the Butterworth brothers and Jason Keller have opened up these characters, their fear, anxieties, hopes, and dreams in a way that feels genuine and considerate.
The racing sequences are thrilling as director James Mangold has his camera career around the cars, placing the audience in the middle of the RPMs and feeling that immersive sense of speed. I never knew that the Le Mans race is 24 hours long, and the scene of these 1960s cars, with 1960s windshield wiper technology, driving in the rain and dark at 200 miles-per-hour is starkly terrifying.
A well crafted movie that has a winning formula and a must watch for everyone.