Ford v Ferrari is both an emotionally fulfilling and thrilling film from start to finish, largely thanks to both Bale and Damon’s charismatic performances and James Mangold’s classic directing.
The film finds Damon’s Carroll Shelby and Bale’s Ken Miles struggling to put together a Ford racing car that can compete against Enzo Ferrari’s before time runs out.
As a director, James Mangold has proven time and time again his unmatched eye for consistency at helming pictures, and with Ford v Ferrari, the case still stands: its a delicately directed film that, despite its very classic look, manages to dazzle as an unpretentious work of cinema that has a particularly thrilling and powerful sequence by the climax. While the pace can feel a bit uneven at times, Mangold chooses wisely what he shows the audience and sets everything up to a highly satisfying conclusion that is sure to please most people craving to see this film on the big screen.
As for performances, not much can be said that hasn’t been before regarding Matt Damon and Christian Bale’s talent, but it’s still worth noting that despite this fact they both manage to stand out with two characters that, while being so different, have an unmatched chemistry on-screen. With Damon remaining more subtle throughout the film, it’s Bale who by the end wows the most with a wacky and often irreverent performance that works quite well for the film and adds another layer to it, and without realizing it, he eventually becomes the heart of the film.
In the end, Ford v Ferrari is an undeniable crowd-pleaser, but it’s the incredible talent at display both behind and in front of the cameras that elevate the material and truly make something special of this fascinating true story.