Movies that are this easy to watch (this is 152 minutes that absolutely fly by) don’t come along every year. Ford v. Ferrari boasts master craft acting and writing of the highest caliber
It’s not really auteur cinema—Mangold is a very fine director, a pro, and the in-race editing here is the closest thing to an aesthetic triumph – but he has fashioned an entire film that captures charm- and that needs to be applauded. Apollo 13 is like this– The Martian had it actually too—another film that stars Damon- back in 2015.
Two big movie star performances from all-time great actors. Bale and Damon have probably both been better, but not by much, and both carry the weight of their celebrity and show off their range. Bale is maybe cinema’s greatest chameleon right now- he plays Batman, Dick Cheney, you name it. He’s lean here, strong non-verbal performance in the car and then of course given great scenes battling with Damon and connecting and earning a real bond with his son in the film. Damon blew me away. I was skeptical of him pulling off a cocky Texan and he absolutely does it here to great success.
Both actors have 20+ archiveable films now. This is Henry Fonda and Stewart, Newman and Redford, Pitt and DiCaprio, Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton
The screenplay by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller is so compelling as is the ensemble cast that includes Josh Lucas (reteaming with Bale from American Psycho), Jon Bernthal (good in everything he’s in) and Tracy Letts. There are scenes without Bale and Damon in the film and they are successes as well and that’s telling. Letts in particular gives off the ego and gravitas needed for the role
In the Ford office there is a not shot of 4-5 men, all in suits, staggered in a board room that has a nice composition
It’s a winning 152 minutes- I’d recommend the film to anyone and can’t wait to see it again but you are never really awed artistically during the film. Maybe you awe at how entertaining it in but that isn’t the same as awing at formal or stylistic achievement from an auteur Without the bravado in the aesthetics it’ll be interesting to see how it plays when rewatching.