Racing laps or into the pits?
Let me lay this out now. I am not a car guy. I don’t know my drag from my ground clearance limits. But this film all about the art of racing is a beautifully put together piece of brilliance. In the early 60s, Ferrari were winning everything from Daytona to Le Mans, the big 24 hour races which were a test of endurance as much as they were a test of car manufacturing. This film is based on the real events of the time, from business boardroom to the tires on the track.
Matt Damon is Caroll Shelby, American car designer who announces to Henry Ford II that he can build a car with Ford that will rival the Ferrari racers.
Ken Miles (Christian Bale) is brought in to help out his old friend and race the cars that Shelby is making. Obviously there are teething problems and corporate interference from a big business who are more bothered about the reputation of the company than they are in who is behind the wheel. Shelby and Miles struggle against the Corporatocracy and strive to prove them wrong. I didn’t know the ending of the real life events and it truly added to what happened.
The whole film is thrilling and even when large parts of it are just in the car with Christian Bale, it continues to be thrilling and exhilarating. The interplay between Bale and Damon works really well, despite a few discrepancies over where Bale’s Birmingham accent is actually going at times. Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II is visciously slimy too throughout and there’s great performances all around.
Whether you are a seasoned track-fan, or a complete novice to the roar of the engine, Le Mans ’66 is a complete joy.