Sure, Christian Bale is one of my favourite current actors, but did I expect to enjoy this movie so much? Not at all.
Firstly, this is such a gorgeous movie to look at that I was really taken aback. When it comes down to it, this is basically a movie about cars… and that is not something I’d usually associate with truly beautiful cinematography. Maybe it’s the colour saturation, maybe it’s the lighting, I don’t know. The exterior scenes specifically were breath-taking, and I pretty much watched the entire thing with heart eyes. Of course the sound editing and mixing was brilliant, and maybe that overshadowed the visuals in the eyes of the critics who were on the Oscar ballot. However, I think this is something to really take note of when coming in to this movie, because it is wonderfully done.
As possibly the only 12 year old girl who owned the Top Trumps Supercars deck, it was so nostalgic for me to see some of the featured vehicles as real-life actual cars. I’m not sure if a lot of people would feel so strongly about the subject matter, but seeing Ken Miles get his new car for the first time filled me with a sense of utter joy. Despite cars not being everyone’s cup of tea, this scene is so perfectly acted by Bale that I’m pretty sure most people would be able to relate the love Miles has for his craft to something they love themselves. It’s an all-round beautiful sequence, whether you like cars or not.
As usual, the main female character in this movie is sorely overlooked. Sure, the two main protagonists are the guys with the cars, but Caitriona Balfe really steals the show as Miles’ wife in every scene she’s a part of. Her performance was raw and pure, especially in the scene where she’s driving her husband around the city and they have an unexpected argument.
This is a movie that I expected to be so male-oriented and full of dick-swinging, but man, I was so wrong. This movie tossed me around through the whole range of human emotions. In one scene, the three Ford cars crossed the finish line together and I cried. Why the fuck did I cry over a car race? I can’t even tell you why, it was just brilliant.
The ending, of course, also pulled on the heartstrings, and after feeling so great after the jubilant racing montages, I was sucked back into a deep state of depression by the end. I’ll avoid spoilers, but it was so heartbreaking that I still think about it almost a month after seeing it for the first time.
This is by no means by favourite movie from the Oscars race this year, but I was so thrilled to see it at least win in a couple of categories.
Plus, it gets extra points for added Nina Simone.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design: