Review by C.J. Bunce

It it’s not a Ford, it’s crap.  That maxim gets put to the test in the next must-see movie while you’re sheltering at home.

A four-time Oscar nominee only a few weeks ago, Ford v Ferrari (as titled in the U.S., it’s Le Mans ’66 everywhere else) revisits that legendary battle of man vs machine vs man.  And boy, oh, boy, does director James Mangold find the sweet spot for the auto racing motif and create a superb film for any audience.  Mangold, who has directed some brilliant movies, including Cop Land and Logan, found the right leading and supporting cast and a story that will keep you sitting at the edge of your seat whether or not you’re a fan of auto races.  But it’s Christian Bale that is the star of the film, ditching his affected American accent and playing the quirky, savvy, and real Ken Miles in the year of races that earned him entry into the Hall of Fame.  Ford v Ferrari is available at sell-through prices on all the major streaming platforms, and it’s great drama, so you won’t want to overlook it.

Finally we get a great dramatization of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race.  Henry Ford II worked with Lee Iacocca to lead a team of engineers and designers to build a car for Ford to compete with Enzo Ferrari, and the result was the GT40 Mark II.  On June 18-19, 1966, they would face off.  The film is about the events leading up to that, but the bigger story is Ken Miles, the man.  Matt Damon plays racecar driver-turned-designer Carroll Shelby, Miles’ fiercest supporter.  From the hilarious references to Henry Ford II as “deuce,” to letting neither Ford nor Ferrari be the film’s villains, to translating the major and minor players and a 24-hour road race into something entirely accessible–Mangold deserved a trophy for this one.  And Bale has not created a more engaging character.  If not for Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as the Joker landing in the same Oscar cycle (and, of course, different Oscar voters who rarely get it right), this should have been a win for him as well–although somehow he wasn’t even nominated.

They even include the fact that Ford doors stick a lot.  Brilliant.

Playing a cool and confident Lee Iacocca is the great Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, The Walking Dead), with Tracy Letts (Homeland, The Post) as Ford, and Remo Girone (Live by Night) as Ferrari.  Rounding out the cast are Caitriona Balfe as Miles’ engaging wife, the solo woman character in the film, Noah Jupe as Miles’ son, Ray McKinnon in a great performance as ace car fabricator Phil Remington, and Josh Lucas in a role you’ll want to see him get punched for by film’s end.

We have plenty of weeks and months of sheltering at home ahead.  So add Ford v. Ferrari (or Le Mans ′66) to your list of must-watch movies while you’re waiting for the theaters to open and new movies to be released.  You can purchase Ford v Ferrari here on Blu-ray at Amazon, or catch it here with Amazon Prime, or via Vudu and other platforms.