Movie Review: FORD v FERRARI

Release: November 15, 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: James Mangold
Screenplay by: Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller
Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, James Mangold
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon

FORD v FERRARI Official Channels
Academy Award-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles (Bale), 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.

This late in the year, many movies are clamoring for awards. The names are bigger, the effects are more impressive, the drama is more dramatic and the run times are longer.  No corner is cut in the rally toward award season. It’s the best time of year to be a movie watcher, because there are a so many great films to watch.

Ford v Ferrari is one of those great films. But not like some of the over bloated, award seeking films of the season.  It was a lot of fun.  The whole experience, even the long run time, was entertaining. From the time the first engine roared on until the last car rode into the sunset, there was not a dull moment on the screen.

The cast was stellar.  Christan Bale (as Ken Miles) was at the top of his talent.  He is always great, but in FvF he is so much more likable because of the normalness of his character.  Bale wasn’t larger than life in this one.  He looked and sounded like a regular Joe.  Matt Damon (as Carroll Shelby) also had a very strong performance. Damon isn’t Bale, but still a very good showing by Damon.  It is almost unfair to pair another actor with Bale for as many  scenes as Bale and Damon had together.  Unavoidably, Bale’s star shown brighter, but Damon and Bale had good, watchable chemistry on-screen.  The rest of the cast also made a strong showing, with Jon Bernthal (as Lee Iacocca) and Josh Lucas (as Leo Beebe) providing the most notable performances.

FvF isn’t just a movie for car buffs or sports enthusiasts.  It is for anyone who enjoys original, based on actual events, movies. Except for some language, FvF is mild enough for the whole family. The flow of the action alternated well between the muscle car racing scenes and the human aspects of accomplishing something that had not been accomplished before.  That said, the race car scenes were adrenaline packed and very fun to watch. 

Just don’t go to FvF expecting a biopic.  The movie isn’t about the life of Miles, Shelby, Ford or Ferrari.  It is the almost legend about how two people were able to set their mind on something, then went out and did it.  FvF is about the races.  There isn’t much about what makes any of the characters tick in it, but that wasn’t a detraction.  There was more than enough of everything else on the screen.

Speed to the theaters.  Ford v Ferrari is one of the best movies of the year.  It is fun. It is original. It is brilliantly acted.  And it is playing everywhere now.   

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