FORD V. FERRARI – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Gentlemen, start your engines because the race for Oscar Awards has begun with this new film Ford v Ferrari. Filmmaker James Mangold, the masterful storyteller behind 2005’s Walk the Line and 2017’s Logan brings us a stunning new film. It’s inspired by a true-life drama about a powerful friendship that forever changed racing history.
In 1959 Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) is on the top of the racing world after winning the most challenging race in all of Motorsports – the twenty-four hours of LeMans. Unfortunately, this is followed quickly by a crushing blow. The fearless Texan is told by doctors that a heart condition will prevent him from ever racing again. Shelby then reinvents himself as a car designer and salesman working out of a small warehouse on Venice Beach. With a team of engineers and mechanics, they are building and racing some amazing cars. His team includes hot-tempered test driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale). He was a champion British race drive car driver before the war. He’s also a devoted family man. His young son Peter (Noah Jupe) adores him, and his wife Mollie (Caitriona Balfe) supports his dream to race. Miles is brilliant behind the wheel, but he’s also arrogant and unwilling to compromise. He and Shelby are blood brothers united by a passion for innovation and an abiding love for racing.
Meanwhile, after Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) makes a fool of the young Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) and the Ford company who tries to buy his company, wheels are set in motion for revenge. Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) wants to beat Enzo publicly on the race track. He has the Ford Motor Company recruit the firebrand visionary Carroll Shelby to design the ultimate Ford race car. A machine that can beat even Ferrari on the unforgiving French track. Determined to succeed against overwhelming odds, Shelby, Miles, and their ragtag crew set up shop with Ford to do just that. They battle corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to develop a revolutionary vehicle that will outshine every competitor. But their tireless efforts take their toll — for these bold men, victory comes at a price.
The cinematography in Ford v Ferrari is fantastic, and the sound work puts you literally in the seat of the car as Miles is testing each vehicle and pushing it to its limits. Also, I’m not sure who picked out all the music that plays during the driving scenes, but damn, it’s good. I guarantee you’ll go out and listen to the soundtrack once you see the film. If this were just a movie about cars going really fast, it wouldn’t work as well as it does. The film is much more layered than that. The chemistry between Matt Damon and Christian Bale is Magic. They bring these two giants of the racing world to life in a believable way. Don’t worry, there is still a lot of edge of your seat car racing footage to enjoy as well.
In the film, you hear someone in a voice-over saying, “There’s a point at 7,000 RPMs where everything fades. The machine becomes weightless. It disappears. All that’s left, a body moving through space and time. At 7,000 RPM, that’s where you meet it. That’s where it waits for you.” That captures the essence of this film in a nutshell. A search for perfection.
I give Ford v. Ferrari an A+ rating because an excellent racing film experience awaits you at 7,000 RPM, in theaters now.
Directed by: James Mangold
Written by: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Selig Rating A+
Running Time: 152min
Drama / Biography
Wide Release: November 15th
Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.