Ford V Ferrari is a car lover’s fantasy, but it’s also so much more than that. With an engaging story and an interesting cast of characters, this is an experience that all cinema lovers will enjoy. Going into the screening, I had the preconceived notion that this film would just be loud cars and gearhead porn. I was pleasantly surprised to witness that the focus was on character and story first, cars and action second.
This film tells the story of how in 1963 the Ford Motor Company offered to buy the struggling Ferrari car company as a way to boost their sales by participating in the 24 hours of Le Mans. Enzo Ferrari leveraged Ford’s offer to get a better deal from Fiat that allowed him to maintain his ownership of Scuderia Ferrari. Henry Ford II was offended by this deal flip and decided to put all his best engineers and top advisors on building a race car that would beat Ferrari at Le Mans. They hire car designer and former race car driver Carroll Shelby to head their new racing division and he enlists the talent of stubborn British race car driver Ken Miles to lead the charge on the track. The film follows Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles on their quest to tiptoe around corporate control while still maintaining the integrity of their life’s passion.
Matt Damon (Shelby) and Christian Bale (Miles) deliver terrific performances and carry this film with their wit and charm. Christian Bale especially shines in this film with his charismatic portrayal of Ken Miles. I was truly surprised as to how connected I felt to these characters and their journey during my viewing experience. One half of the praise goes to the actors, but the other half has to be given to the team of writers on this project. They were able to take the classic Hollywood formula and deliver a wonderful story of integrity and passion.
This film also features some of the best editing that I’ve seen this year. Mainly supported on all of the racing sequences. It’s a truly immersive experience where you forget about your surroundings, and you feel like a passenger behind the wheel. In my opinion, this film has one of the best sound mixes of the year as well. It’s very easy for car sounds to ruin soundtracks because they’re too loud or too obnoxious, but I felt as though the Audio Engineers treated these sounds like a character in the film. They were able to manipulate the engine recordings to help further the nail-biting racing sequences but also used them to develop character motifs to help further the emotion of the story. I’m truly in awe of all of the technical aspects of this film and I didn’t expect this race car biopic to become one of the best films of 2019.
If you love cars then you will absolutely love this film. If you’re indifferent about cars, you will still love this film. Ford V Ferrari has something for everyone and it is definitely a must-see-in-theaters kind of movie.