ford v ferrari

★★★★★

DIRECTOR: james mangold (logan, walk the line, Girl, interrupted)
STARRING: matt damon, christian bale, Jon Bernthal, and Caitriona Balfe

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

There is something equally down to earth, gritty, and magnificent watching Matt Jason Bourne Damon and Christian Batman Bale wrestling around on the ground in Ford v Ferrari and using bags of bread to hit each other with. Even though it’s really quite amusing this scene speaks volumes about the two leading men and the direction this film heads in, full throttle. Its real, dramatic, completely believable, and Damon and Bale completely disappear into their roles in one of the movies of the year. 

 

American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

 

You don’t see movies like this anymore. A movie on a budget of nearly 100 million that is essentially a drama with the race at Le Mans as the back drop. Sure there are car racing scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat, heart thundering out of your mouth. But the soul of the movie is in the exploration of two very different men and their deep and yet at times volatile relationship. 

 

Shelby is the schmoozer, Miles is the car racing genius with a temper. One a deeply devoted family man, the other a single man without a care in the world. Both with strengths and weaknesses that complement the other. This is a tale about male friendship; the kind of mate that you’d punch in the nose, laugh with, and have their back no matter what. 

 

Again movies (aside from franchise films) aren’t made on such a big scale with a production budget that has the eye for the smallest and slightest detail so that every single scene makes you believe that you are stepping back to the 60’s. It's a magnificent looking picture. 

 

And it's the Damon and Bale show. Bale will get a lot of the praise in this film because he’s truly magnificent, as you’d expect, and rightfully so. But Damon plays the ‘nice guy’, the one who stays in control and very rarely loses his temper. In a lot of ways that role is a heck of a lot harder to play and Damon tackles all of its subtleties beautifully.  

 

Christian Bale. Probably the best actor of his generation alongside Phoenix is just magnificent. He’s a chameleon: one moment he’s Dick Cheney, the next he’s Ken Miles a skinny, British, racing driver. He’s one of those rare actors who completely disappear into their roles, leaving little trace of themselves behind. 

 

The most crowd pleasing motor racing film since The World’s Fastest Indian, Ford V Ferrari is one of this year’s best with edge of your seat, heart thundering out of your mouth car racing anchored by magnificent performances from Damon and Bale.

★★★★★

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