Ford v. Ferrari tells the compelling true story of two motor companies vying to be the best and the fastest cars in the world and this story is equally as souped-up as the many cars they have manufactured over the years.
Matt Damon stars as Carroll Shelby, a former race car driver and winner of the 1959 Le Mans competition in France, but retired due to heart problems. In 1963, he works for Ford Motors and they are receiving competition from the likes of Fiat who are making models that are expected to go better, sleeker, and of course, faster than any other cars on the planet.
He recruits his friend Ken Miles (Christian Bale) a hot-tempered British mechanic and racer wannabe to help with making Ford’s cars go equally as fast if not faster. Together the two have shaky ideologies about how cars can move and all the gory details that go into making them, but they also know when to put their differences aside to win.
When it comes time for Ford to compete in the 1964 Le Mans, they want to send other racers instead of Miles due to his volatile ways, but Shelby defends him to the hill. Jon Bernathal plays Lee Iacocca, Ford’s vice president who also displays skepticism over the choice.
The racing scenes are riveting and thrilling especially once we get to Le Mans and director James Mangold of Walk the Line and Logan directs them with enough intensity and focus so that we know what’s going on at every second including interactions with Ford’s with Fiat without being bogged down by so much of the politics. Instead both companies are here to race and win.
At 152 minutes, Ford v. Ferrari had the potential to stall, but it doesn’t. It creates characters we get to know and enjoy and it also gives us a wonderful recreation of the early ‘60s auto racing.
It’s exhilarating watchig these scenes and Damon and Bale hold their own throughout the film. I don’t know if this film will finish first on my 10 best list, but it’s a winner nevertheless.
Rated PG-13 for some language and peril.
Hall is a syndicated movie critic in South Georgia.