You don't have to be a racing fan to watch Ford vs. Ferrari, because the battle for victory takes place between the men who make the cars and those behind the wheel.
Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, the movie that opens in US theaters on Friday is based on the little-known story of US and British car designers and engineers who built the Ford GT40 to take on the legendary Italian Ferrari team in the US. 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966.
"It doesn't matter if you don't know anything about racing," said Bale. "That's what we had to fight with … you can have a movie in which you can absolutely devote yourself to beautiful bumper and engine shots and all that. But this essentially boils down to a story about an incredible friendship told about 370. kilometers per hour".
Bale lost about 31 pounds compared to his previous role as former US Vice President Dick Cheney in "Vice" to play eccentric British driver Ken Miles. Damon lives American runner and designer Carroll Shelby, hired by a rude Henry Ford 2nd (Tracy Letts) to build a car with Miles that would defeat Ferrari at Le Mans.
"I don't care about motoring a bit," Damon admitted. "I was so moved by the script that I wanted to spend six months doing it, so I hope the audience feels the same."
The racing scenes did conquer the experts. Autoweek magazine called the movie "its new best racing movie in history," while Car and Driver said the races are "full of suspense" and the cars "look fantastic."