REVIEW: FORD V FERRARI (2019)
With Logan, James Mangold proved that he can deliver a character study. And while Le Mans 66 (otherwise known as Ford v Ferrari) isn't quite as rewarding as Hugh Jackman's superhero swansong was, it does reiterate the director's ability to get under the fingernails of his characters.
Here he focuses on Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, the odd couple which pioneered Ford's first race car in spite of incessant corporate interference. Shelby, a retired driver turned designer, is played by the ever dependable Matt Damon, who effortlessly imbues the charm that is synonymous with the archetypal Southern gentleman. Opposite him is Christian Bale, who turns his distinctive brand of acting to the role of the eccentric but incredibly talented Miles. He is in the sort of stellar form that has become synonymous with much of his career and demonstrates why the aforementioned driver is so beloved by the racing community. The story itself is incredibly interesting, despite never fully settling on the many themes which run through it. It's certainly intriguing to see how Ford were prepared to forsake personal success for the sake of their own corporate image, with Miles largely deemed an undesirable by upper management.
But it's the quality of acting, coupled with Mangold's assured handling of the pivotal race scenes, that keep the film thundering along. Though the runtime is a tad excessive, there is enough here to keep audiences strapped in to the very end.