Ford v Ferrari
review by Bobby Blakey
Director James Mangold has brought some great films to the big screen including Cop Land, The Wolverine and his last outing with the famed mutant Logan. Now he is shifting his focus into the world of cars and racing with his latest film Ford v Ferrari starring Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, and Ray McKinnon. Could this film offer up the high octane racing and drama to do this story justice or will it run out of gas before it crosses the finish line?
Ford v Ferrari follows the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles, who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. I wondered how much of the racing we were going to get surrounded by the story of it all because sometimes these stories get bogged down on themselves. Thankfully this story finds a good balance between both offering up a great film filled with drama, humor and intense racing sequences that all work to perfection.
Both Damon and Bale are fantastic bringing very unique and interesting personalities to the roles of this real life racing icons. Their chemistry together offer up some of the best scenes of the film showcasing their complicated friendship. Damon steps in to bring some great presence as Carol Shelby with the confidence and swagger about him to make you see why the guy was so successful outside of his talent for racing and building amazing cars. Bale’s Ken Miles has a bit more meat as a hot headed but passionate driver and you believe he knows what he is doing. His constant conflict feels warranted as he constantly proves why he has the right to be.
The story itself not only serves as some history to these guys, but more focused directly on the elevation of Ford outside of the standard car dealership to the powerhouse they are now along with the development of the GTO and more. While all the moments in the garage, offices and under the cars working is great it’s the races that amp things up. Sure you might already know or can easily figure out the direction of some of the race outcomes, they are so intense and fun to watch it will keep you on the edge of your seat. The different ways its shot allows you to see the race, but also other moments feel like part of the race and immerses you into the experience.
I loved this movie so much more than I had expected. I believe this is another outing that both guys deserve some recognition during awards season, but even if they don’t it’s a must see great movie.