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Great Britain

Le Mans ’66 pits Ford against Ferrari in a battle of high-octane passion and glory

THERE’S plenty of hair-parting racing sequences to keep the petrolheads happy as Christian Bale and Matt Damon join forces.

In the States the movie is called Ford vs Ferrari, which may not conjure up the romance of Le Mans ’66, but does explain the true story of the rivalry borne after Enzo Ferrari rebuffed a takeover attempt from Henry Ford II.

Furious at the rejection (and  jealous of the stallion’s glamour), Ford orders  designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) to win Le Mans  in just a few months’ time in a car that doesn’t yet exist.

Naturally Shelby can only consider this if he can find the right driver, which he does in the shape of Ken Miles (Bale) – a Brummie grease monkey with a penchant for risky driving and chucking spanners.

Bale plays him like he’s actually having fun for once, while Damon plays Ernie to his Eric perfectly well and the two   help the story power along, avoiding it becoming a   boardroom  bore.

There’s a fantastic scene with Henry Ford whimpering in the passenger seat after a tear around the track.

But given the film’s protagonists spend more than two and a half hours fighting for individuality over towing the party line, it’s firmly rooted in the middle of the road.

The cars do look incredible and every time we venture on to the track the movie goes up a gear as  director James Mangold makes it feel like you are in the pit lane.

LE MANS ‘66 (12A) 152mins

★★★★

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