If a movie could chew gum and wear a cocky grin, it would be Le Mans ’66. The US title, Ford v Ferrari, is more direct and honest: hot heads and hot rods, Michigan against Modena, no room for nuance, black and white (all white, in fact). Matt Damon is in likeable everyman mode as a former racer turned car designer charged with making American cars great again and challenging the dominant Italians in the 24-hour endurance race; Christian Bale chews scenery as a gruff maverick Brummie driver who frequently spins out of control off the track. The dialogue harks back to a time when men were men, and women knew when to bring them a cold one. Director James Mangold cranks up the entertainment and steers a course as predictable as a Nascar track, every turn signalled well in advance. This is big, meaty moviemaking served with extra cheese and a hefty dose of everything-is-possible triumphalism.
Netflix refuseniks and existing fans of Roma can rejoice as Alfonso Cuarón’s exquisite film is given the lavish Criterion Collection Blu-ray treatment. Extra features reveal the extent of the director’s obsessive autobiography — tracing actual furniture and fittings from his parental home to recreate his Mexico City childhood, every item triggering another wave of Proustian recollection. They also show the project’s social dimension — restoring cinemas in small towns or, failing that, bringing the movie and its indigenous stars to outlying communities in a mobile screening truck.
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