Note: This is a spoiler-free Ford v Ferrari movie review
Oscar season is officially in high gear and we’ve got a new contender looking to put the competition in the rearview.
Ford v Ferrari is a well-rounded cinematic achievement containing fast-paced entertainment, with equal parts high quality in acting, directing, and cinematography.
Damon And Bale Share The Driver’s Seat
The acting performances in Ford v Ferrari are great, which may come as a pleasant surprise thanks to the recent dramatic run Matt Damon has been on. A quick glance at that IMDb page shows some performances with a lot left to be desired. Fortunately, Damon is back to his old self and elevates this film with his performance.
Carroll Shelby is portrayed as a pillar throughout the film. He is already established as a giant in the industry adding to and cementing his legacy. His stoic demeanor brings a stable driving force a movie like this needs when telling a story with a lot of technical jargon mixed in.
In other words, it’s OK if you don’t understand all the car speak in Ford v Ferrari. The human stories lie at the center of everything, and all that revolves around Damon’s Shelby.
Opposite Damon is Christian Bale as a little-known mechanic and driver Ken Miles. The actor once again brings it with his performance.
Shelby’s character is strong, but Miles is the one who brings conflict and relatability to the film. The driver has all the talent in the world, but is embattled, bitter, and proud in the way he carries himself. So he’s the exact opposite of what Ford is looking for to represent the company as a driver. His trials and shifts as the movie progresses inserts a necessary human element into a story about building a car.
Few get lost in a performance to evoke emotion the way Bale can with a performance, and this one is no different. He is right in his element as a quick-witted, no-nonsense smartass. He acts that way for nearly the entire film and yet you’re rooting as hard as possible for him the entire time.
Shelby acts as a calming presence to the Le Mans team, while Miles is the opposite as the loose cannon racecar driver. The two complement each other perfectly as they weave in and out of a love/hate relationship. Damon is a presence with his performance on his own, and Bale creates a character the audience connects to, but the best moments of Ford v Ferrari are when they’re on screen together.
Damon and Bale make chemistry look easy as they play two characters trying to make history together on screen.
Strength Sitting Sidecar
The Ford v Ferrari supporting cast only adds to the quality of the film in a few ways.
Josh Lucas is genuinely dislikeable as Leo Beebe. It’s surprising to say considering Lucas gives off so much southern gentleman in every other performance, but he’s great in this film as the main antagonist.
Noah Jupe plays a minor but important role as Ken Miles’ son, Peter. Their relationship adds an extra dynamic to the film which only makes Ken more relatable.
Tracy Letts adds a certain flair as Henry Ford II. He plays both sides of the coin as likable and not so much, showing a shift along the way. He’s also front and center in one of the better comedic scenes of the movie.
A Cinematic Crew Chief
The acting in Ford v Ferrari is excellent, no doubt. The quality of directing and cinematography matches the acting performances, and that takes the film to the next level.
Ken Miles is in constant chase of the “perfect lap” at Les Mans. Director James Mangold takes that approach and makes nearly every correct turn at the correct time throughout the film. During Ford v Ferrari you experience happiness, sadness, joy, disdain, and exhilaration (just to name a few). You laugh, cry, clench your fist, and sit on the edge of your seat.
The film is a full-ride inside a racecar, but also in your emotions. The acting brings a lot of that out, but Mangold also deserves credit for his direction.
In addition to the direction, there are some beautiful and unique shots both inside and outside of the car in Ford v Ferrari. Whether it be a backdrop for a Damon speech, a shot from the perspective of a sunglasses lens, or a wide shot at Les Mans, the cinematography is immersive and takes you inside this true story.
Multiple scenes display these achievements further (look for a Damon-Bale fight scene. Or just wait for the entire final 45 minutes of the movie). But since this is a spoiler-free review let’s go with this:
Ford v Ferrari is 2 hours, 26 minutes long. Because of the fast-paced action and quality performances, it doesn’t feel that long and by the end, you’re wanting more.
Should I See Ford v Ferrari?
I can say with confidence that Ford v Ferrari is one of the more enjoyable movies of 2019. It’s fast-paced, fun, and fully-immersive for 2.5 hours straight. Plus it brings a true story to light, which adds a human element and will make you feel good walking out of the theater.
If you’re looking for an entertaining night out at the movies, Ford v Ferrari is your pick.
(Featured Image courtesy of EPK)