Friday, November 8, 2019

Ford v Ferrari - Movie Review

The Movie: Ford v Ferrari

The Director: James Mangold

The Cast: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Tracy Letts, Ray McKinnon

The Story: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

The Review:
Start your engines! Awards season has officially shifted into high gear as James Mangold's latest feature film accelerates into cinemas around the world. The story is a classic industrial American tale that features the Ford Motor Company's efforts to beat out Ferrari at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans and the men who beat the odds to make it possible. Mangold puts you in the driver's seat with some truly amazing camera work and some of the best driving footage ever to be put on screen thanks to cinematographer Phedon Papamichael and stunt coordinator Robert Nagle respectively.

While the movie looks great and the story is both dramatic and inspiring, the real highlight of the movie is the work turned in by lead actors Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Damon has that undeniable presence on screen that is extremely likable and his acting skills have been refined over the years to the point where I would consider him to be one of the best leading men working today. In this movie, he plays Carroll Shelby, an auto industry icon and one of the most successful automotive designers ever. You never lose sight of the fact that you are watching Matt Damon on screen and that's perfectly okay because he's just that good.

Christian Bale has been one of my favorite actors for some time and, while he has a reputation for being difficult to work with, he is one of the premier method actors working today. From his understated turn as Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy to the deranged intensity of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, Bale has proven time and again that he is going to impress you with his skill at creating characters who can be outlandish yet oddly relatable. Race car driver Ken Miles had a very unique personality that more often than not got him into trouble rather than creating opportunities that would find him crossing the finish line.

Bale easily flaunts the more gruff and hard headed side of Miles while also presenting the man as someone who cares deeply and endlessly for his family and for his craft. Miles was a genius when it came to creating and fine tuning automobiles to the point of near perfection, a skill that was only exceeded by his abilities behind the wheel. Thanks to the deep dive into the character that Bale chooses to take, we really get to see the passion and desire that drove the man sometimes past the point of civility because he knew exactly what was needed to get the job done right.

Visually this movie is like a pristine, showroom quality Mustang with every last detail spit shined, polished, and perfect to look at. The racing scenes are some of the best to be put on film since Ron Howard sent Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl around the Formula One track in Rush. Camera angles are meticulously mapped out so that each scene is maximized for viewing on the biggest screens available with matching sound systems that can handle the rumbling engines and banging 60's soundtrack. James Mangold seems to know exactly how to blend real world grit and grime with a glossy, cinematic reality that puts you right in the middle of every single moment.

The Verdict:
Ford v Ferrari is a custom built, turbo charged ride through one of the biggest moments in American automotive history. Christian Bale turns in an Oscar caliber performance and Matt Damon continues to be Matt Damon and I mean that in a good way.

Before we wave the checkered flag on this review, it's time to debut a new feature to the TwoOhSix. The one and only Van Thu Nguyen aka "Mini Van" (Spoiler alert: she's not tall) will be making guest appearances from time to time with her very own thoughts on the movies that we see together.

Check out the brand new Podcast!

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