I dare say, "Ford v Ferrari" may be that rare movie that's impossible not to like. It has so much going for it: a fantastic true story with a good-humored screenplay performed by charismatic, bonafide movie stars all directed by a sure hand. Oh, and it's a blast.
Matt Damon stars as racer and car designer Carroll Shelby doing a pretty good Texas accent (or at the very least a solid Tommy Lee Jones impersonation). In the mid-60s, he's brought in by the Ford Motor Company to build a car to challenge Ferrari for a big race in France.
Christian Bale is Ken Miles, a driver with a spark plug temper, and a friend of Shelby's, who aggravates the Ford suits.
The movie does a good job servicing the gear-heads in the audience without losing the rest of us who know next to nothing about cars, but can still appreciate the history and craftsmanship. Director James Mangold directs the racing scenes expertly with immersive shooting, and the sound for the movie will probably win Oscars. Bale may be up for another Oscar, too, as a man motivated by something more than racing.
"Ford v Ferrari" feels old fashioned in a way: a splashy, big budget movie that's not a reboot, a re-imagining, an unwanted sequel or about superheroes. Its engine hums on a good, original story and filmmaking. What a novel idea! And since it's a hit, we can look forward to the remake in 20 years.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * *
* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing* * Mediocre - You can do better