Tony's Take

FORD V FERRARI review

They Took the American Dream for a Ride

Fresh-off his victory in the Le Mans, the 24-hour race in Le Mans, France, Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) finds himself facing a difficult obstacle in his career; he is no longer medically-able to race.  He instead puts all his time and effort into his own racing team, including his hotheaded, brash driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale).  In the middle of Ferrari’s dominance in racing, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) is open to any and all suggestions on how to improve the Ford Motor Company.  An attempted partnership with Ferrari goes embarrassingly-awry and Ford is left in shambles.  After an encouraging idea from Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal), “The Duce” commands he build a car that can beat Ferrari.  Without hesitation, Shelby partners with Ford and brings Ken alongside as well.  With only 90 days until Le Mans 1965, Ken begins test driving and fixing every little error and imperfection in the car that he can find.  But his hard work is met with disappointment, as Ford doesn’t allow Miles to race.  After the overwhelming failure, Shelby insists they can still beat Ferrari, but only if they allow the one man who has mastered the car to race.

While there have been plenty of racing films released over the years, few have been as well-acted and executed as “Ford v Ferrari”. Bale and Damon are truly in a league of their own, with Bale’s charisma and humor and Damon’s pure focus and emotion on full display; it’s another example of how Christian Bale is one of the greatest actors of our generation.  His humor is ever apparent and fits his character perfectly; you won’t be able to stop grinning! Led by the tour-de-force performances of Bale and Damon, the extended cast featuring Catriona Balfe, Bernthal, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, and Letts are outstanding as well.  “Ford v Ferrari” can proudly boast that its racing scenes are by far the best, most exciting and authentic racing sequences that have ever been filmed.  You feel each gear shift, feel every turn as if you were in the seat, and jump at every collision.  This incredible vantage point makes the film feel so much more real as it pulses adrenaline through your body.

Perhaps the biggest victory in “Ford v Ferrari” is the film’s primary focus, the human element.  Sure, the film is filled with racing, Le Mans, and car companies, but at the film’s center is love, friendship, and the drive to follow your dreams.  Regardless of your intrigue or interest in cars, it is sure to hit you emotionally.  The film’s story covers a lot of ground, but its 152 minutes blazes by effortlessly.  The film puts you in the driver’s seat and begs you to hold on for dear life.  What James Mangold has crafted here is nothing short of spectacular, it’s a balls-to-the-wall spectacle that demands to be seen!  “Ford v Ferrari” is a remarkably-entertaining, exhilarating thrill ride that checks all the boxes; it’s by-far one of the greatest racing films ever made and one of the best films of 2019!

 5/5

FORD V FERRARI is rated PG-13 for some language and peril, in theaters NOVEMBER 15TH!