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Ford v Ferrari

It’s tremendously satisfying to watch Jason Bourne v Batman duke it out without a host of jittery camera and desultory editing tricks.  Satisfying and funny as hell when the choice to smash the opponent’s face with a large, heavy can of stewed prunes is waived in favor of a fluffy loaf of Wonder Bread.  (In the old days, like 1966, friends sometimes expressed interpersonal conflict with their fists, often without any thought of civil or criminal litigation; although maiming and murder were, generally speaking, off the menu.)  Satisfying, funny and as rich an opportunity to advance the wordless exposition of fascinating characters as any Rogers/Astaire contrapuntal soliloquy.  Only the fight didn’t last as long as Dancing in the Dark or Dancing Cheek to Cheek or Pull My Finger.

Give Matt Damon a couple of opportunities to wax rhapsodic, and the whole film becomes a series of valuable memories.  One of his speeches end in the words, ” You’re welcome.” and the other is another wordless exercise in elegant communication that probably made Henry Ford II wet and shit his pants and certainly drew hysterical tears of delight and terror from the smug, arrogant mask of financial and executive power.

Delightful moments strung together by the judiciously-selected moments that constitute a history narrative of the war between a couple of legendary automotive empires, only one of which was/is a soulless corporation and the epitome of NOT-QualityIsJobOne and Ferrari, where entire automotive masterpieces were assembled by one expert by hand, and the quantity of completed tasks was the least important product.

I was alive when the events depicted in this film took place, but having never been a car guy, the names and allusions were peripheral and irrelevant to me until now that the themes of covert, secret, manipulative senior-middle-management-meddling in the honest affairs of people of better will and earned respect, despite nonconformity to the expectations of the press-release-set — I have no idea how to end this sentence, but you probably know what I’m trying to say.  Now, through the vision of the filmmakers, I see illustrative parallels and object lessons and heuristic demonstrations of stuff I’ve long believed about corporate responsibility (an oxymoron, because corporations exist to evade the liabilities of  personal responsibility [and maximize profits]) and the people side of the get-it-done ethos in which PeoplePersons aren’t in the majority, but the difficult, the uncompromising, and the absolutely arseholy are.  Mrs. Miles, on the other hand comes of as wonderfully enabling of her husband at a time before “enabling” became an accusation of pathological dysfunction; as in the expression, “Ford enabled Roosevelt to beat Hitler” or “The Soviet Union enabled the Allies to take all the credit for winning World War II.”  But I digress.

Ford v Ferrari is a wonderfully satisfying film I’m going to buy when and if it’s cost comes down to meet my budget.

22 Feb 20 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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