Racing lines: Le Mans '66's greatest triumph is it? To order

Le Mans '66 Damon and Bale

Damon as Shelby, Bale as miles in Le Mans '66

Hollywood movie smudges the facts, but it's purely an automotive thrill that redeems a long-suffering car

“It's good that it didn't happen,” I whispered to my buddy, in less than a minute. He looked at me, rolled his eyes and I promised then and there to keep my mouth shut for the next two and a half hours. After all, Le Mans '66, the new big-budget racing film Depicting the intense mid-60s rivarly between Ford and Ferrari, is not a documentary. This is pure Hollywood. Racing fans, leave what you know in the cinema lobby.

But dwelling on exagerrations, inaccuracies and inconsistencies is a waste of energy. What would you expect? The GT40's history is complex and nuanced, with many leading players. Instead, we get a simpler narrative based only roughly on the truth, which turns everything upside down in an old-fashioned buddy story built around two star leads: Matt Damon as retired racing driver and new tuning legend Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale as his prickly English friend. driver and mechanic Ken Miles.

Damon and Bale are boorish he is the ball, with Bale in particular savoring some of the warring miles who, on the contrary, is also a loving husband and father (even if he's a Birmingham-born accent squeaks). It's funny to see Ken Miles elevated into a movie hero: he was never close to an a-lister fortune on time, even for those who appreciated him. Still, his role in the birth of the GT40 is often overlooked, so this film at least rectifies that injustice.

The trigger for Ford's quest to conquer Le Mans is Enzo Ferrari's lace-up along Dearborn executives over the infamous 1963 coup. Again, pedants leave now. The portrayal here has a deft comic touch, while the reaction of Henry Ford II, played with gusto by Tracy Letts, feeds clean trump cards.

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And racing scenes? Recreated GT40s and 330 P3 cars look amazing - when they're not moving. At speed, director James Mangold returns to all the clichés that got people out of the car in movies. There is always another gear and two inches of throttle to find. It's better than crawling tide-inducing rather than a patch on Grand Prix John Frankenheimer and Steve McQueen at Le Mans for that matter. But the CGI-assisted recreations of Daytona and Le Mans are impressive.

But the best thing about this movie? First, it's great fun - don't take it too seriously. Second, he actually did. At a time when the car was widely reviled for the wrongs of our precious world, here's a big Hollywood movie that celebrates racing culture, the joy of the deafening 7.0-liter and the rebellious spirit of the heroes that fuel it all. Look at the big screen cinema, you can find.


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