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What Critics Think About Ford v. Ferrari

Expect a thrill ride
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2019 10:44 AM CST
Updated Nov 15, 2019 10:53 AM CST

(Newser) – The true story of Ford's effort to show up Ferrari at an epic 24-hour auto race in France in 1966 is retold in Ford v. Ferrari, James Mangold's latest film starring Matt Damon as auto designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as the man he recruits to drive for Ford, eccentric Brit Ken Miles. You'll be cheering them both on, according to critics, who give the film a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Four takes:

  • "With one pounding sequence after another," it's a thrill ride and more—"a new and emotionally complex model of an old-fashioned audience-pleaser, with wonderful performances by Christian Bale and Matt Damon and a resonant soul to go with its smarts," writes Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. He adds that the film "has significant things to say" on everything from art to friendship.
  • It "could have just been a sports story." Instead, it "pays tribute to big thinking and chance taking" and "in its own, new way, is a paean to masculinity, no small feat in our cultural moment," writes Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle. Appealing to those without the slightest interest in racing, "it's one of the year's great films, and of all the great films so far, the most accessible," LaSalle adds.

  • There are "brilliant" touches from Mangold, who uses "head-rattling techniques" that take you inside the vehicles and are sure to quicken the pulse, writes David Edelstein at Vulture. The film is as strong away from the racetrack, Edelstein writes. "The dryly macho quips in the script by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller all land, the dialogue as honed as the racecars, for maximum torque."
  • The film "nearly clicks on all cylinders," as Brian Lowry puts it at CNN. Though a little long at 2.5 hours, Ford v. Ferrari "never drags." Rather, it "plays like a bracing shot of adrenaline … proving that Hollywood can still make 'em like they used to," Lowry writes. The result, thanks to some "fuel-injected star power," is "pretty darn stirring."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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