Film Review – Ford v Ferrari (2019)

Title – Ford v Ferrari (2019)

Director – James Mangold (Logan)

Cast – Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Noah Jupe, Josh Lucas, Tracy Letts

Plot – The true story of car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Bale) who teamed up in the 1960’s to help Ford’s quest to take down Ferrari’s long standing reign as the Le Man’s race champions.

“We’re lighter, we’re faster, and if that don’t work, we’re nastier”

Review by Eddie on 18/11/2019

Who would’ve thought that the year’s most purely enjoyable cinematic delight would come to us in the form of what on paper appears to be a petrol heads delight?

Low and behold though, James Mangold’s magnificently filmed, scripted and acted true life tale of motorsport legends Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles is not only a cracking biopic accessible to those of all ages but one of the year’s best filmed big screen treats that is sure to be a major player at the upcoming awards season.

Stepping behind the camera for the first time since he delivered big results with Logan in 2017, Mangold maintains the form he found with the well-respected comic book adaptation to give Ford v Ferrari (also known as Le Mans ’66 in many territories) a consistent energy and heart that maintains an almost flawless ability across its two and a half hour run-time to keep us glued to the screen throughout.

Mixing both character beats and high-octane spectacle, the race sequences in Ford v Ferrari are a site to behold, Mangold’s managed to do what Ron Howard did with Rush a few years ago and make a car film for everyone as those seeking 4-wheeled action will be happy just as those that are seeking out character beats and focus will be.

Working off a genuinely funny and heartfelt script by Jez and John-Henry Buttersworth and Jason Keller, Mangold’s exploration of the typical American hero Shelby and the dead set driven and wild Ken Miles work with Ford in 1966 to create a machine that could take down Ferrari’s reign as Le Mans champion may follow a formula we’ve come to expect from such a film but it does so in such a fun, energetic and soulful way that Ford v Ferrari feels fresh and new, with two killer central performances to boot.

Teaming up for the first time in their varied careers, Matt Damon as Shelby and Christian Bale as Miles create one of the year’s most memorable double bills, an on screen relationship that will make you laugh, fist pump and possibly even shed a tear or two as the two motor racing geniuses battle against the odds, a bunch of Ford suit and ties and themselves to achieve their goals.

We’ve come to expect a certain standard from these two performers but both Damon and Bale excel here, with Bale in particular delivering another awards worthy turn as Miles, who in the wrong hands could’ve become downright unlikeable but here comes out as a man we can’t help but respect and admire.

While its unlikely Bale will walk away with any significant silverware in such a crowded year for male performances of note, there’s a good chance his turn here will be fondly remembered as one of his best.

With these two fantastic lead turns front and centre throughout and a raft of memorable supporting performances from the likes of the always great Jon Bernthal, the slick Josh Lucas and a scene stealing Tracey Letts as Henry Ford 2, Ford v Ferrari is the all-round package, a trial against the odds underdog story that is a film everyone should check out, not just those already in the know about this wonderful true life tale.

Final Say –

A winning delivery of a tried and true formula makes Ford v Ferrari a ride worth taking, further enhanced by some immaculate direction and some wondrously entertaining performances, James Mangold’s racing epic is one of the year’s most memorable big screen events.

4 ½ ruined bags of groceries out of 5

7 responses to “Film Review – Ford v Ferrari (2019)

  1. I couldn’t disagree more. I was utterly gobsmacked by how lackluster this movie was. I expected something more “in the moment,” but it felt so stale and by the numbers.

    • Sorry to hear man, I didn’t know a lot about this story and am certainly not a massive “car” or “racing” person but I really loved this, thought it was by the numbers but with enough freshness, great direction and acting to be in many ways quite surprising.

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