"Look out there. Out there is the perfect lap. You see it?"
First things first, Matt Damon did absolutely nothing for me in this movie. He’s never been a favorite actor of mine and I thought he was just one note in this film, Christian Bale on the other hand, was his epic usual self. He was captivating, charismatic, and funny. I really wish they had utilized John Bernthal to a higher degree. I mean seriously, I feel like every movie I see him in he’s never the lead, and it is an absolute crime. There were some other minor characters that played pretty important roles whose name escapes me, like the guy that played Henry Ford Junior. I was very wary of the first 20 minutes or so, as things were kind of slow paced starting out. I very much enjoyed the way the racing aspects were shot and edited, combined with the music. Another slight nitpick I had was the credits rolling in the beginning. I felt they were too spaced out, and it up being a distraction more than anything else. I thought we were going to be treated to some very simple intro credits but as the film rolled on they would come back unexpectedly and I thought it was really weird to have them so drawn out. Especially when John Bernthal first appears on the screen when the credits are still rolling I’m thinking to myself what a distraction this is. That’s just one of a couple things I would have done differently if I were the man behind the story.
Another thing that kind of irks me is a moment during the climactic Le Man’s race or Christian Bale‘s character is slated to go back into the race and Matt Damon has some less than stellar news for him. To create a sense of urgency I would’ve cut back to the pit crew restoring the car to racing form, and then cut back to Christian Bale as he’s getting ready to go into the car to get back in the race. One last thing I would’ve done differently as well, is add some title cards for different times or parts of the year and especially locations to build a sense of context with regards to the story and pacing. Hollywood, 1965 or Paris France, 1966. I know it’s a bit of cliché in films based on a true story but it’s really helpful. The production design was not the most spectacular I’ve seen in a movie, but still pretty obvious enough for you to guess that this film took place in the 60’s. When it comes to film is based on a true story, especially inspirational ones, I like to see some photos, or maybe archival footage of the actual people the story is based on at the end. It’s come to be one of my favorite things about this particular genre. I think Ford v Ferrari being the American triumph story (not mention clear Oscar bait) that it is, certainly has potential to be a big awards season contender, but I don’t see it garnering too much beyond some well earned nominations. ￼Ford versus Ferrari was supposed to serve as equal parts a Matt Damon and Christian Bale performance driven machine. However, I feel that Christian Bale and the charismatic energy brought to this film grossly overshadowed Matt Damon as a whole. Considering my youth and not being a big racing aficionado, the story of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles was very unfamiliar territory for me. Anybody that knows me, knows I love sports movies, and I think I’m developing a bit of a soft spot for the racing sub genre.
Ford V Ferrari is a purely American triumph story and worth a watch. See it for the cast, especially that of Christian Bale, and the direction of James Mangold. Its a decent film, but ultimately forgettable. It is not a Ricky Nixx film.