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November 18, 2019

Ford Vs Ferrari (2019) --- “They Took The American Dream For A Ride.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     It’s 1965 and Ferrari has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the last four years. So it comes at no surprise that when Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts), the CEO of Ford, tries to buy Ferrari, he is rebuffed by its founder (Remo Girone), who knows Ford only after Ferrari's world-famous racing program. Furious, Ford directs his racing division to build a car that will beat Ferrari at the next 24 Hours of Le Mans. In order to do that VP,  Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) turns to retired racing legend and automotive engineer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and his team, which includes his hot-headed British race-car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), to get the job done. Can Shelby and Miles do the impossible and win a battle of Goliath vs. Goliath? Find out as they battle against corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle that could possibly make history at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
     Although I don’t know anything about race cars nor do I have a favorite team, in fact I don’t really know any teams, to be honest, I do enjoy watching the cars race because it reminds me of when my father would take me and my brother to watch the cars race. I remember enjoying the sound of the loud cars as they roared around the track, feeling the vibrations in the ground as they passed by, and not to mention seeing if I or my brother would be able to catch one of the free gifts they threw out into the crowd. It was a fun moment of my childhood so when I heard that a racecar film was being made I jumped at the chance to see it.
     Directed by James Marigold (Walk the Line, Logan), and written by Jex Butterworth (Spectre, Cruella, Edge of Tomorrow), John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow), and Jason Keller (Escape Plan), Ford vs Ferrari (2019) is a fun and exhilarating racecar-period piece that will leave you rooting for the good guys, regardless if you’re a racecar fan or not. What gives the film heart is that its story is about a ragtag group of artists in their profession who are trying to stay true to their vision while working for a company that’s far more concerned with its public image and sales than anything else. The film is able to maintain a sense of lightness and humor because of the light and jazzy music score by Marco Beltrami (Twilight Zone, Underwater) and Buck Sanders (Logan, Underwater, A Quiet Place), as well as the lively dialogue, which is fully-stocked with wisecrack jokes, one-liners, and slick repartee. The racing sequences stick to being as accurate as possible by using practical stunt-driving and limited CGI to convey high speeds and potentially deadly impacts with a lot of gusto. Now all of this does not mean that it is a consistently compelling film but director Mangold is a highly acclaimed filmmaker who has created some passionate and dramatic films in the past, and this one is no different.
Although the film’s biggest selling point is the racing, that does not mean that it falls short of excellence when it comes to telling the stories of the people along for the ride. Matt Damon (The Great Wall, Downsizing) as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale (Vice, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Hostiles ) as Ken Miles have great chemistry together and their dynamic gives the film much of its character. Caitriona Balfe (Outlander, Money Monster) and Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Honey Boy) may have small supporting roles as Miles' wife and son but their scenes with Bale offer a welcome glimpse into Miles' softer, family man persona. Jupe has a joyful screen presence and Balfe continues to mesmerize audiences with her charisma, also her chemistry with Bale feels natural. Josh Lucas (Yellowstone Breakthrough) bringing on the smarm as the Ford executive Leo Beebe who is a constant thorn in the side of Shelby and Miles. Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, Peter Butter Falcon), Tracy Letts (The Sinner), Ray McKinnon (Chaos Walking), Remo Girone (Live by Night), and even JJ Feild (Turn: Washington Spies, New Amsterdam) give compelling performances in every scene they are in. 
     Overall, Ford v Ferrari (2019) is an entertaining, solid, and satisfying film that is distinctly different from most biopic films. The story is engaging, emotional, and humorous, while the racing sequences are thrilling and practically leave you on the edge of your seat. The cast performances were great and helped elevate the film, especially the dynamic chemistry between Matt Damon and Christian Bale’s characters. You don’t have to be a fan of racecars nor do you have to have any prior knowledge of the sport to enjoy this film but if you do happen to be a racecar fan then there is no doubt that you will be thrilled to watch this one. I highly recommend that you check out this film, especially while it is still in theaters and if you can see it in IMAX, you won’t be disappointed. 

Final Vote --- 8.5 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
The Aviator (2004)
Days of Thunder (1990)
The Founder (2016)
Ferrari (2003)
Grand Prix (1966)
Gung Ho (1986)
The Italian Job (1969)
The Italian Job (2003)
Judy (2019)
Le ans (1971)
Need for Speed (2014)
Rush (2013)
Speed Racer (2008)
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Walk the Line (2005)

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