FORD v Ferrari Review — Get Revved Up for One of the Year’s Best

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Ford v Ferrari review — Even if car movies are not your jam, you’ll want to race out to see this.

Ford v FerrariAmerican ingenuity v established foreign dynasty. Giant corporation v lone maverick genius. Principals v greed. Friendship v  just about everything else. Ford v Ferrari is so much more than your basic car movie, there’s something for everyone—including awards voters.

The film is based on the true story of Carroll Shelby (gamely played by Matt Damon), a champion race car driver turned race car designer. He teams up with his friend, savant driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale, finally getting to show off his versatile British accent) and the Ford Motor Company to take on Ferrari in the famous 24-hour long Le Mans race in France.

Stakes are raised by the fact that Ford had actually tried to buy the financially flagging Ferrari, and in the process was dealt a blow that wounded the American institution to its core. Never a good idea to wake a sleeping giant.

Director Jame Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:30 to Yuma, Logan) has crafted an extraordinary film with a powerful engine that won’t quit, fueled by human passion and frailty. Damon and Bale are superb, but so too are Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II and Josh Lucas as one of his slimy corporate minions. It’s also fun to see Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe as Mrs. Miles, although I would have liked to see a bit more of her.

Not too long ago I watched Steve McQueen’s Le Mans, which, I’m sad to say, does not hold up. It’s race car cinema at it’s most tedious. So, when I heard that a Le Mans race was central to Ford v Ferrari, I was a bit skeptical. But Mangold’s grip on the wheel is so firm and skillful he manages to drive all aspects of the film, from the sound to the cinematography to the script to the acting, successfully across the finish line like a real champ.

Rated PG 13

2 Hours 32 Minutes

Liked this Ford v Ferrari review and feel like racing to the cinemaplex? Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

Ford v Ferrari review — Even if car movies are not your jam, you’ll want to race out to see this.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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