Ford v Ferrari

Ford v Ferrari

In Theatres: 
Nov 15, 2019
Running Time: 
152 minutes

I know practically nothing about car racing and up until now have had little interest in the sport to be honest, and yet Ford v Ferrari had me hooked from moment the solid green flag drops. Yes, it’s a sports drama that follows the Ford Motor Company as they attempt to do the impossible and build a car that can compete with Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, but it’s also a story about passion and perseverance. Led by a phenomenal performance by Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles, Ford v Ferrari is one of the year’s most entertaining films.


It’s 1963 and sales of Ford cars are down. In an effort to increase the brand’s awareness and sales, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) has Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) make an offer to purchase Ferrari, who have been winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race for many years in a row. But after Ferrari uses Ford’s offer to sign a better deal from a competitor, Ford becomes determined to build a car that will beat Ferrari on a global stage. He hires Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to design and build this impossible car who in turn hires Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to be his go-to driver. The only problem is that Miles doesn’t exactly personify the Ford brand with his hot-headed temper, despite being the best driver around who could possibly beat Ferrari. All parties are going to have to swallow their pride and work together, however, for Ford to even have the slightest of chances of taking down the current champions of race car driving.


Ford v Ferrari should really be titled Miles v The World because honestly that is what the film mostly about. Ken Miles is one of the best drivers there is, and yet at the beginning of the film he’s struggling to keep his mechanic shop afloat with smaller races here and there. He wins races, but he is also very difficult to work with. Christian Bale is fantastic in the role and brings his British charm and wit to the screen. There’s a cockiness to his personality, one that feels deserved given his abilities on the track and in the garage. Because of this you’re always rooting for him, which makes it equally devastating when he is constantly put down and looked over because he’s not the look Ford is going for. Big business is the villain here, and Ford executive Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas) is its face. Everytime Miles does something great for Ford, Beebe is there to take him down a peg, oftentimes disguising his hatred of Miles as telling him to be more of a “team player.” He’s the guy you love to hate, and Lucas captures that wonderfully.


Equally entertaining are the races themselves. Most of the time the camera is in the driver’s seat so you’re seeing everything from the cockpit, which provides a better understanding of just how intense these races can be. While it’s hard to comprehend how much faster 200mph is than say 100mph, Ford v Ferrari does a great job at giving you that adrenaline rush. There’s a wonderful scene where Carroll Shelby takes Henry Ford II for a drive around the test track in their new concept car in an effort to show him what kind of driver it takes to handle a car with so much power. By the end of the drive he’s bawling like a baby as he’s never experienced anything like it before in his life, despite being the owner of a car company. It’s a hilarious and 

eye-opening scene.


Like Ford, I honestly had little knowledge of car racing going into the film and there’s a fascinating amount of technical detail packed into all the drama. As Miles says at one point in the film, it’s so much more than just driving around making left turn after left turn. It’s fascinating to watch and learn about it all, whether you’re a life-long fan of the sport or a newcomer like myself.


Ford v Ferrari is a rush of pure adrenaline. Once again, Christian Bale transforms into his role completely and delivers another breathtaking performance that is only overshadowed by the thrilling racing sequences. Racing enthusiasts and non-fans alike will no doubt be entertained as there’s something in the film for everyone. 

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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