Review by Camden Ferrell
Ford v Ferrari is a biographical drama film that premiered at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival. This movie is directed by Academy Award nominee James Mangold (Logan). Featuring stellar performances and an intelligent script, this is a film that will please car fans as well as those looking for a thorough character drama.
This movie is about legendary car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles as they attempt to create a revolutionary Ford vehicle to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This is a story that is rooted deep in automotive and racing history and lends itself greatly to a film adaptation. It is full of rich characters and timely themes that make this feel three dimensional.
One of the more pleasant surprises of this racing film is how well written it is. The script by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller is sharply written. It’s full of witty dialogue and exchanges, and it gives the story a beating heart that makes it so enjoyable. While there are some miniscule problems throughout with the script, it’s still a great screenplay in its own right.
However, the standout of this film is its performances. Led by Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting) and Christian Bale (Vice), their performances are both stellar. Damon gives a more subtle performance as Shelby. He deals with his demons while also managing the pressure of creating a racecar, and Damon handles that balance very well. In a more outspoken and overt role, Bale plays Miles. He perfectly captures the beautifully reckless and determined spirit of Miles and delivers some heartfelt moments with the other cast members, especially his son, played by Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place).
This film features some really exhilarating sequences during the races. It is well directed, and the editing is superb. Its fantastic cinematography and sound create an immersive experience that puts you into the driver’s seat. There are moments where it becomes a heart-pounding experience. It is sure to immensely satisfy any racing fanatics and car buffs in the audience.
Even for those who aren’t fervent about automobiles, this movie still offers an affecting story that will appeal to all audiences. It deals with serious themes and messages that will resonate with audiences as well as the lighthearted themes of friendship and perseverance. It’s a great story that handles a lot of different emotions on the human spectrum in a way that makes these characters seem tangible.
Unfortunately, one of the film’s few flaws does come from its runtime. Clocking in at 152 minutes, it still does a mostly fantastic job of maintaining its pace. However, there are some instances where it can noticeably drag. Luckily, thanks to the dynamic chemistry of the actors on screen, this is a forgivable shortcoming of the film.
Ford v Ferrari is a great film for audiences this fall. It’s written very well and features some great races and fast cars while also being emotionally relatable. It also manages to be incredibly educational about this historic duo. This is a great film that must be kept on the radar as awards season approaches.
Ford v Ferrari is in theaters everywhere November 15th.