• by Wes Singleton

Ford v Ferrari - A-

Rated PG-13, 153 minutes

Exciting, swift and funny, the new drama "Ford v Ferrari" tells the story of how the Ford Motor Company became involved in race cars to compete with the Europeans at the famed LeMans car race. If you're hesitant about buying domestic over foreign, this is one time in which the Americans prevailed.

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.

"Ford v Ferrari" charges up the fall movie going season, and like the awards season too, as it charges in theaters driven by two big name, Oscar-winning actors as its leads. Directed by "Logan's" James Mangold and co-written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller, it's an action-packed, crowd-pleasing tribute to the time that Ford actually built the better vehicle. And to their credit, "Ford v Ferrari" doesn't disappoint with some fast, funny moments that'll rank among the year's best.

The Shelby-Miles team would end up creating the Ford GT40," which would ultimately help Ford gain a name in racing in the '60s (and seemingly temporary since it hasn't happened since) in a way to help boost its sagging car sales in America. Damon is fine as Shelby, though he bears little resemblance to the legendary car designer, however it's Bale's typically squirrelly version of Miles that will resonate the most.

They're well-supported by a large supporting cast, most memorably from character actor Tracy Letts as a no-nonsense Henry Ford II, and he has some of the film's best lines, not to mention the film's funniest scene when Carroll takes Ford in a brief spin of the GT40. Caitriona Balfe as Miles' wife, Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca, Josh Lucas as Ford executive Leo Beebe, Ray McKinnon as race car designer Phil Rosenthal, and Noah Jupe as Miles' son Peter round out the talented cast.

"Ford v Ferrari" runs a little long, and a handful of scenes seem redundant or unnecessary, especially when concerned with Miles' personal life, and could've been easily cut. It makes up for a stunning last act in a sublime recreation of the 1966 LeMans race, and even with an extended run time, you're likely not to feel it as Mangold keeps it moving swiftly. Solid, well-made and one of the most thrilling rides of late, "Ford v Ferrari" is one of the best films of the year and one you'll likely see again come awards time.


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