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Le Mans ’66

They took the American Dream for a ride 

Year: 2019 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by James Mangold 
Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal  

In the 1960s, the Ford motorcar company was struggling for sales. To find a solution, head of the company Henry Ford II sends all of his factory workers home, on the proviso that every one of them returns the next day with an idea for increasing sales. An up and coming star (Jon Bernthal – The Punisher) in marketing hits upon the idea of entering a Ford car into Le Mans – a European 24-hour race requiring speed and stamina, which has been won by the Italian family-run business of Ferrari every year for the last 5 years. Ferrari sank a fortune into developing the finest crafted, most stylish, and fastest racing cars, and no one else comes close to beating them. Until now…

This car would be unlike any that has come before, so only one person can manage this project, Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon – Jason Bourne trilogy) and the man he wants to drive it is a loose cannon, Ken Miles (Christian Bale – Dark Knight trilogy). Ken has sunk much of his own money, time and energy, into funding his own tweaked car into races, though his short temper and recklessness often cost him the race… Carroll has his work cut out for him just trying to keep Ken and his temper under control, while fighting bureaucracy and bean counting in the boardroom from executives who just don’t understand why winning is so important for sales…

A car race from the 1960s might not seem that interesting a concept for non-racing fans, however, as all the best films are, this is about people and their passions. Bale makes the apparently devil-may-care-recklessness common in racing at a time with high mortality rates seem more understandable by conveying his pure love of the thrill of driving pure acceleration (one that rivals his own will-to-survive). His family understand this, even as they fear how it will end. Damon also charms with his passion to achieve the impossible in racing as health concerns prevent him from getting behind the steering wheel himself.

Natalie Tyldesley-Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2019/2020 Spring Term (digital)
2019/2020 Spring Term (digital)