‘Ford v Ferrari’ is a technical masterpiece, but lacks substance

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Matt Damon and Christian Bale star as Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, respectively in "Ford v Ferrari." Courtesy of Fox Movies.

“Ford v Ferrari,” while lacking narrative substance, exhibits some of the best sound editing and mixing.

Directed by James Mangold, “Ford v Ferrari” takes place in the 1960s, where automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and British racecar driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), design a revolutionary racecar for the Ford Motor Company’s racing division in an effort to defeat Enzo Ferrari’s cars, who has defeated Ford at the 24 Hours at Le Mans the last five years.

“Ford v Ferrari” is nothing special as far as sports dramas go.

The film carries clichés that are seen time and time again in sport dramas, including melodramatic sequences, a run-of-the-mill romantic arc and household turmoil because of a conflict that arises in the film. These things aren’t inherently bad, but they’re things that audiences have seen time and time again and bring nothing new.

The product placement on this film could not have been more obvious.

Almost every other scene in the first two acts of the film had either a Coca-Cola or Smirnoff bottle or advertisement in frame. I don’t have too much issue with product placement in media, let alone films and have come to expect it considering that we live in a capitalistic society.

However, the abundance of product placement in “Ford v Ferrari” was annoying.

My last major critique of the film is the runtime was too long. The film is two and a half hours long, but it felt like three. I don’t mind long films, but if it lacks enough substance, be it symbolism, metaphors, or stellar performances, having a long film is pointless. The film would have benefitted had the runtime been trimmed at least 20 minutes.

With that said, I enjoyed the “Ford v Ferrari.”

Though I wasn’t fan of Damon’s performance, as he lacks any real range as an actor, and his character’s wife (Caitriona Balfe) was nothing more than a caricature of a housewife, I did thoroughly enjoy Bale’s character.

Bale is the type of method actor to truly immerse himself into his character, as seen in films like Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, “Vice,” and “American Hustle.” Therefore, it’s no surprise that his performance in “Ford v Ferrari” was impeccable.

Though the actions, specifically with the race sequences, were to be expected in this sports drama, the sound, design and editing in these sequences were well done.

The audio during Miles’ race at Le Mans was so crystal-clear, the film allowed me to immerse myself into the scene. Watching “Ford v Ferrari” is probably the closest I’ll ever experience riding a Ford GT40 without physically being in one.

“Ford v Ferrari” is a decent sports drama with some clichés in the narrative, but the production redeems this film from falling flat.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AngelOrtegaNews.