The Peanut Gallery Reviews Ford v Ferrari
PG Score: 8.25/10
Ford v Ferrari is just as high-octane as the title suggests. The film recounts the true story of car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles in their journey to build a Ford race car that rivals Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. I am happy to say that it fires on all cylinders for the majority of the two and a half hour runtime. I was on the edge of my seat for a large portion of that hefty figure. That’s largely a result of the spectacular and plentiful driving sequences. I use the word “driving” rather than “racing,” because a lot of the vehicular sequences focus on Ken testing the vehicles, perfecting the creation that will be used to take on Ferrari.
In many ways, these scenes are equally as exciting as the actual races. The camera angles highlight the pure ferocity of these lightning-fast cars. The set pieces are loud, as they should be. James Mangold wants you to feel like you’re in the driver‘s seat, and I’d be lying if I said that were a stretch. The races themselves are where things really crank into high gear. Everything goes from fast to absolutely surging; plus, factor in other drivers and the peril that accompanies such high-speed competition. Mix all that up and you’ve got a recipe for some truly stellar vehicular spectacles. The writing in Ford v Ferrari is extremely sharp for the most part. The script is beautifully delivered via two elite actors in Matt Damon and Christian Bale. They play wonderfully off of each other and their performances are both equally strong. The supporting cast does a great job as well. Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, Caitriona Balfe, and Ray McKinnon are just some of the names on a capable list. With that being said, the two leading men are the highlight here. Damon plays the more restrained and personable car designer/genius Carroll Shelby. Bale is the wildly talented and short-tempered driver Ken Miles. They made for an interesting pair in real life and that unique bond translates exquisitely on screen. The two and a half hour runtime did feel a tad excessive. I was surprised by the length prior to seeing it, and while it wasn’t massively drawn out by any means, it did feel a bit slow at times during the middle of this powerhouse flick. All in all, it’s a minor knock on an otherwise great movie. James Mangold continues to solidify his name as an impressive and versatile filmmaker. From Logan to Walk the Line and now this gem, the résumé speaks for itself. Ford v Ferrari utilizes a smart script, dynamite performances from two top-notch actors, and dazzling vehicular sequences to their full potential to cruise past the finish line with flying colors.