- Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal
- Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
- James Mangold
- Running Time
- 152 minutes
- Release Date
- November 15th, 2019
This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.
We have now reached the feel-good part of the festival. Early on, it became clear that Ford v Ferrari is destined to be a crowd-pleaser. Based on the title, it is easy to figure out that the film revolves around cars and racing but in reality, it is much more than that. Audiences don’t have to be fans of either to enjoy this film, however, some may be afterwards as it features some of the best racing sequences ever put on film (putting it in contention for sound Oscars). In the end, the film works best as a buddy drama elevated by the great chemistry of its two leads. Some may find it too long, clocking in at roughly 2.5 hours, however, most will be too busy having fun.
Ford v Ferrari follows former race car driver (and now famous sports car builder) Carol Shelby (Damon) and an up-and-coming loose-cannon driver Ken Miles (Bale) as they work together (while occasionally butting heads) to bring the Ford motor company, run by Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts), back to prominence in America by building their own race car to take on Ferrari and win the famed 24 hour of Le Mans race, despite being a relative newcomer in the sport. Of course there were plenty of speed bumps along the way (pun intended) but it was still a blast to watch as Shelby and Miles each had something to prove, being on opposite ends of their careers while focusing on their futures. Meanwhile, the contrast in cultures between Shelby and Miles and the corporate suits of Ford may not be terribly new, however, they were still a fun adversary. Though the story may have been predictable, it was still easy to root for these characters all the way until the end.
The best part of Ford v Ferrari easily was the excellent lead performances from Damon and Bale as Shelby and Milles. Damon was the best he’s been in ages, bringing plenty of charm and grace to the role but was still a force. Bale holds his own with Damon, single-handedly stealing the film with an energetic and larger-than-life performance worthy of award consideration (probably as a supporting actor despite him being more of a lead than Damon). Meanwhile, the film featured solid supporting performances from Letts, Caitriona Balfe as Miles’ wife Mollie, and Bernthal and Josh Lucas as Ford executives Lee Iacocca and Leo Beebe.
At the end of the day, Ford v Ferrari is not only a thrilling cinematic tale but it is also the kind of film we need.
*still courtesy of 20th Century Fox*