American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
Movies that are based on true stories are ones that I get relatively worried about for two particular reasons. One being that it is usually used as a marketing gimmick to get more people in the theatre to see this true story. This is usually effective when it comes to horror films especially, as audiences’ curiosity is piqued when they hear that a horror movie could be based on a true story. How would that be possible? It interests us.
But the other reason why I find these “based on a true story” movies to be disappointing and not as good as they could be, is because that you may already know the true story, resulting in the film being not as interesting as it could have been had you not known the true story. Once you know what the ultimate end result of the story is, watching the film won’t be as enthralling because you know where all of the characters are going to end up and you have an idea of how the story is going to play out.
However, I did not know the true story of Ford v Ferrari and so whenever certain plot points happened, I was genuinely surprised. I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie because I am by no means a car fanatic. They are fast and exciting, but I’m not a car guru, but even still, this was a remarkably fun time at the movies.
One of the reasons why Ford v Ferrari works so well is definitely because of the performances all across the board. Christian Bale and Matt Damon both give some of the best performances in their entire career. They never feel like they are acting. All of the dialogue that comes out of their mouths feels totally unscripted and authentic, and I never once saw the actors; I saw their characters Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles.
Speaking of the two protagonists, they were ones that I always rooted for right from the beginning all the way to the thrilling and exciting end. The movie wisely pauses on these two men in order for us to understand their plight and it gives us a moment to not only breath from the racing sequences, but it allows us to see where their heads are at.
The journey of these two men attempting to build a Ford car faster than a Ferrari was extremely riveting and it was also kind of charming. It is a movie that is made for people who are passionate about achieving their goals, and it is a really good one at that, too.
All of the racing moments are a ton of fun to watch as you would hope. This is further assisted by the truly terrific sound design that makes you feel like you are really there at the race track, with the sounds of engines revving and tires spinning, making everything feel so much more exciting.
When it comes to flaws, my biggest one for Ford v Ferrari has to be the running time. Clocking it at a surprisingly long one hundred and fifty two minutes in length, after a while, the film does overstay its welcome. To be honest with you, I feel like a good thirty or so minutes could have been removed from the running time and not much at all would be different. It kind of felt like one of those movies that went for a long running time to make everything feel more grand, but it instead felt exhausting and a bit overlong after a while.
Despite some down time and some sequences that most certainly do drag, this is still a wholly entertaining and often inspiring tale of two men with a gigantic dream that will stop at nothing to achieve that. Those that are looking for an often exciting and thoughtful story will find lots to like here.
Ford v Ferrari‘s long running time is certainly evident, but it is still a remarkably fun and inspiring tale with tons of exciting sequences.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language and peril
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe
Directed by: James Mangold
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 15, 2019 (United States)
Running Time: 152 minutes