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Ford v. Ferrari (Drama, Sports, Biography) (2019)


Director: James Mangold

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller

Stars: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitríona Balfe, Noah Jupe

A heated rivalry in the automotive industry due to a failed negotiation leads two companies to arrange unlikely partnerships to develop a different, much lighter vehicle and allow a retired driver behind the wheel.

Premiering at the Telluride Film Festival, "Ford v. Ferrari" recreates the rivalry between these car manufacturers and the 1965 Le Mans Endurance Grand Prix. Following those involved with American-based Ford at the time, mainly Carroll Shelby and his friend Ken Miles, who were essential in the race and production of the GT40. It was filmed in multiple states and locations; including California, New Orleans, Savannah and Le Mans, France. Racing sequences were also captured at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California and a Honda test track in Mojave Valley, among other places. It was produced by Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, and Turnpike Films and distributed by 20th Century Fox.

After trying to secure a deal with their Italian competitors in Ferrari, American car company Ford signs a contract with Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to design and produce a brand new prototype vehicle intended to be lighter and thus faster than any before. While agreeing to these terms, Shelby has only one requirement: the controversial hiring of temperamental Brit Ken Miles as engineer and driver, believing this to be the key to victory over the Italian powerhouse Ferrari.

Box Office: 'Ford v Ferrari' Brings in $2 Million in Opening Weekend  Preview - VideoVeering towards an action-oriented approach, Mangold renders a period-piece drama with racing sequences, providing a contender for challenging other great modern racing films.

Set Decor / Film Decor Features: FORD V FERRARIWhile clearly more of an attraction towards motorsports fanatics, "Ford v. Ferrari" provides extensive periods to frame and balance itself between narrative drama and thematic visuals. A nitro-boosted drama using Bale's Ken Miles in a once-more transformative role, we're made familiar with a temperamental figure, confident in his craft and unafraid to make that clear. Trying her best to support him despite constant doubt and worry is the conventional yet underrated Balfe as Mollie Miles, Ken's wife. His path, alongside his friend and business partner in Damon's Carroll Shelby, is decided by the executives of Ford, having been disgraced after a proposition to Ferrari seeking a partnership to prove to the Italians that Ford has the skills to beat anyone and certainly Ferrari.

In a statement about this film, I'd use the phrase "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast," as that seems to be the definition within this mature and vivid recreation of this manufacturer's rivalry at Le Mans. In essence, a racing feature different from others, providing a great visual, but not straying from the expected material with plenty of car-based content underneath the hood. It excels in the human drama we crave to consume, with plentiful curves and corners along the track.

Allowing for ample calmer moments, this feature is a drama with well-paced, action-oriented scenes that make you ignore the speed bumps, entirely going with the flow. After films like Marvel's "Logan", Mangold has proven his proficiency in certain terms. Yet, this is the definite proof in my eyes. Almost in defiance of the momentum in motorsport, he provides an abundantly dramatic feature before putting the pedal to the metal and allowing an unsuspecting audience to smell the fumes.


An unstoppable 7,000 revolutions per minute.