The Reel Review
Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in the story of American race car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles, who in 1966 teamed up to build a revolutionary race car for Ford to challenge Ferrari’s dominance at the world’s oldest active sports car race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Director James Mangold (Logan, 3:10 to Yuma) puts the pedal to the metal in this pulse-pounding, fuel-injected biopic, filling it with humor, action, suspense, and a full range of emotion as the rebellious duo find themselves competing not only with Ferrari, but with infuriating corporate bureaucrats from within Ford, in their David v Goliath fight to make their vision a reality.
As riveting and visually fascinating a story as this is, it is the ensemble cast that gives it its soul. Bale, as usual, showcases his amazing, uncanny ability to completely inhabit his character. As a result, he raises the performances of his co-stars across the board – Matt Damon, young Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Wonder) as Miles’ adoring son and Caitriona Balfe (Outlander) as his impassioned, supportive wife. Even Josh Lucas (Glory Road, Sweet Home Alabama), as the vindictive Ford executive, is a maddening delight. When it comes to thrill rides, Ford v Ferrari is the real deal.
• Director James Mangold had expressed interest in directing Ford v Ferrari back in 2010, but wasn’t brought on board until after he made 2017’s Logan. He and screenwriters decided to focus the story on Shelby and Miles instead of the more conventional story laid out in prior drafts.
• Ford v Ferrari marks the third time Matt Damon has worked with an actor whom has portrayed Batman on the big screen – Ben Affleck, George Clooney and now Christian Bale.
• Matt Damon says Christian Bale had seven months to shed the 70 pounds he gained to play Dick Cheney in 2018’s Vice to play the lean race car driver. Bale’s secret? Damon says Bale told him he just didn’t eat.