Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ford v Ferrari

No one could give two craps about car racing more than me. And yet I quickly won over by "Ford v Ferrari" as it quickly raced into my heart as one of the best movies of the year. Set in the 1960s, the corporate ties at the Ford Motor Company, including Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) wants to enter the auto racing industry and intend on giving Ferrari a run for its money. Enter auto designer and former racer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and British racer and struggling mechanic Ken Miles (Christian Bale) who are tasted with designing, building, and testing a car that could beat Ferrari at the Le Mans race in France. 

On paper this sounds like such a snooze to anyone who is not remotely a gear-head, but somehow it makes for a thoroughly fun and entertaining drama. Damon and Bale have an amazing love-hate onscreen presence and give great performances, especially Bale who is especially exquisite here. James Mangold directs the racing scenes as if they're action spectacles and they are intense with perfect editing and a pulse-pounding score from his usual collaborator Marco Beltrami (and Buck Sanders). I'm simply amazed at how emotionally invested I became in this film, which could have easily been a 2.5 hour commercial for Ford Motor Co but instead is about fascinating personalities and triumphs of the human spirit. Sure, it sort of follows the formula of the many inspirational sports films that have come before it but there's a reason the formula works so well.  GRADE: A

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