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Draper Journal

Dan's Review: "Ford v Ferrari" is a winner

Nov 15, 2019 05:01PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari - © 2019 20th Century Fox.

Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)

Rated PG-13 for some language and peril.

Starring Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon, JJ Feild, Gian Franco Tordi, Jack McMullen, Benjamin Rigby, Joe Williamson, Alex Gurney.

Written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller.

Directed by James Mangold.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

I like cars, but I don’t love them. To me, they serve my basic needs for transportation, and it’s nice when you can spend time inside a vehicle that’s comfortable and reliable, too. My family might read this statement and do a spit-take, because they say I drive like a maniac race car driver, speeding, taking unnecessary risks, tailgating (a.k.a. “drafting”), darting in and out of traffic…I forget where I was going with this. Oh yeah, cars. To others, cars provide sport (hence the term “sportscar”), or a means to race like the wind, providing an addictive rush of competition. It’s to these folks a movie like Ford v Ferrari is catered, the (somewhat) true story of Carroll Shelby’s quest to unseat the famed Italian race car manufacturer’s reign on the European racing circuit.

Matt Damon stars as Shelby, the famed racing designer who was hired by Ford Motor Company to create a new race car in the mid-1960s. Shelby is recruited by Lee Iacocca (John Bernthal) to head up the seemingly impossible venture on behalf of Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts). To get the project going, Shelby turns to the hot-headed, yet successful driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who is also very good at developing and improving race performance. The timing is perfect for Miles, as he struggles to make ends meet for his wife Mollie (Caitriona Balfe) and young son Peter (Noah Jupe). Shelby’s and Miles’ efforts are thwarted by Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), Ford’s conniving right-hand man and chief executive, who doesn’t like Miles and fears his rough nature will hurt the company’s reputation. As Shelby and Miles work to develop what would become the Ford GT40, they hit all kinds of obstacles including mechanical failure, racing politics, and corporate meddling. When the team arrives at Le Mans in 1966, they embark on the 24-hour race hoping for a little luck while depending on their friendship and intuition to reach their goal.

Ford v Ferrari is an enjoyable experience with great performances from Damon, Bales, Bernthal and Balfe. The racing scenes are indeed exciting, with great cinematography, special effects, sound design/editing, and authentic tension. While not entirely historically accurate, the movie captures the spirit of the bare-knuckled competition between Henry Ford II and Enzio Ferrari (Remo Girone), along with Shelby and Miles’ drive for perfection. Unlike other historical dramas, Ford v Ferrari has a little more soul and personal feel to it, showcasing likable and unique characters. It’s also nice to see Bale taking on a role in which he can have a little fun, instead of always playing a grump.

So, remember to wear your seatbelt and obey all traffic laws when you head out to see Ford v Ferrari. I promise to keep both hands on the wheel as I (safely) speed past you.

"Ford v Ferrari" Trailer

Online Edition
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