Movie Review: ‘Ford v Ferrari’

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This film focuses on the Ford-Ferrari rivalry, a staple of 1960s competitiveness. As Ferrari continues to impress on racetracks across the globe, Ford sets their sights toward supremacy. First, they sign Carroll Shelby, an American automotive designer and engineer. Then, Shelby recruits Ken Miles, a professional race car driver. Together, the men craft a legitimate automobile, capable of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France.

Let me be frank…”Ford v Ferrari” is one of the best films of the year. Yes, that is a bold statement, but in all actuality, “Ford v Ferrari’s” success shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, James Mangold is the director. Consider his past work: “Cop Land,” “Walk the Line,” “3:10 To Yuma,” The Wolverine” and “Logan.” Clearly, Mangold is a filmmaker of immense capability, able to balance spectacle and humanistic context in one swooping story line. Here, he crafts one for the books.

Yes, sleek automotives are heavily featured within this narrative. And yes, these machines impress every step of the way, upping the stakes with stylish ferociousness. But make no mistake about it, humanistic heart runs this cinematic engine. Mangold opens the film with consistent action, setting up the explosive atmosphere that is on the horizon. Then, he places us within the context of personalized worlds. Through these windows, the film possesses contextual entertainment, earning its power through the prism of humanistic connection. The style and substance of the film work in conjunction with one another. The action enhances the characters. The characters enhance the action.

Together, Matt Damon and Christian Bale create a memorable duo, representing key themes, such as friendship, determination and fearlessness. On a consistent basis, their chemistry overtakes the action sequences, presenting a relationship which lands within many areas of the interpersonal spectrum. Damon’s natural presence creates the perfect middle man, able to see things from multiple perspectives. Bale has the flashier role, complete with blunt language and memorable hysterics. In simple terms, there’s never a dull moment with these two.

Even though the film focuses on Ford’s perspective, it presents a flawed methodology, very much connected to commercial unfairness and minimization. Part of the film’s joy is watching Shelby and Miles battle Ford, a stubborn organization of titanic proportions. In time, we receive a tremendous representation of corporate idiocy, overflowing with sudden twists and turns. The duo’s ongoing struggles with Ford imbue the story with dramatic and comedic consistency, making the eventual races feel all the more earned.

At 150 minutes long, the film could be trimmed in a few places, but as a whole, it’s a high-octane piece of cinema, brimming with passion and artistry. Ladies and gentlemen, see this film on the big screen. You won’t regret the experience. If anything, you will feel the need…the need for speed!

My Grade: A

Dillon McCarty can be contacted at [email protected]