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James Mangold
Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal
Writing Credits:
Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller

With the help of designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles, Ford Motor Company tries to develop a race car that can beat Ferrari at Le Mans.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Dolby 2.0
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 152 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date:2/11/2020
• “Bringing the Rivalry to Life” Documentary
• Trailers


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Ford v Ferrari [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 18, 2020)

Across their storied careers, Matt Damon and Christian Bale never worked together. Not until 2019’s Ford v Ferrari, that is, a period underdog story.

In 1963, the Ford Motor Company suffers from years of declining sales. To help move sedans, VP Lee Iaccoca (Jon Bernthal) proposes that they buy Ferrari to add a racing team and a “cool aura” to Ford.

Alas, founder Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) chooses to partner with Fiat instead, so Ford gets stuck with precisely zilch. Irate, CEO Henry Ford II (Tracey Letts) declares that Ford will build a racecar to compete with Ferrari, no matter the cost.

Carroll Shelby (Damon) used to compete as a driver, but a heart condition forced him to retire. Now he creates his own line of sports cars, albeit a business that threatens to flop.

Iacocca hires Shelby and provides him with the proverbial blank check. In need of a driver, Shelby digs up Ken Miles (Bale), a hotheaded Brit who suffers from his own financial concerns.

Given Miles’ reputation, Shelby finds it hard to sell him to Ford. Nonetheless, Shelby and Miles pair to design a top-notch racing vehicle and beat the Italians.

No one will call Ford a particularly deep movie, and it indulges in some pretty simplistic characters for the "villains". For a so-called "prestige" movie, there's not really much that elevates the project into something more than a lively underdog story.

But that's good enough for me, as Ford delivers a fun ride. It might take too long to get where it needs to go, though, as the set-up drags more than it probably needs.

That said, since we spend so much of that time with Damon and Bale, I don't mind. The two show good chemistry and make a good on-screen pair. Where else can you see Batman and Jason Bourne assault each other with groceries?

Bale's performance can lean a little broad at times - that's not unusual for him - but he still brings nice heart to the role. The trailers make Ken look like a goofball, but Bale's allowed the room to grow and develop.

Damon basically plays a variant on the typical Matt Damon Performance: laconic and reserved, albeit with a Texas accent. I don't know how much real range Damon boasts, but he does the Matt Damon Performance well, so he helps ground the project, even if the movie leaves Shelby less defined than it should.

Ford excels when it finally gets to formal race scenes. Director James Mangold stages these in an ultra-vivid manner that really allows the viewer to feel like they're part of the action.

Nothing here feels like it's Oscar-caliber, as the predictable nature of the good guys vs. the bad guys can seem trite. Nonetheless, it becomes a winning journey that goes by quickly and entertains.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus C+

Ford v Ferrari appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a terrific visual presentation here.

Overall definition worked well. Only the slightest hint of softness ever emerged, so the vast majority of the flick offered tight, accurate delineation. I saw no shimmering or jagged edges, and the image lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

Ford opted for a fairly orange/amber and teal palette. I would’ve liked something that deviated from the norm, but within its parameters, the hues seemed positive.

Blacks were deep and dark, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. Across the board, the movie looked very appealing.

I also felt consistently pleased with the excellent DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Ford. With tons of automotive action, the soundscape used all the channels on a frequent basis. This led us to an exciting sonic experience from start to finish.

The various speakers provided lots of information that filled out the movie and blended together in a seamless manner. This formed a dynamic soundscape with a lot to offer.

In addition, audio quality seemed strong. Music was bold and full, and dialogue remained crisp and natural.

Effects appeared lively and vivid, with clear highs and deep lows. I felt pleased with this impressive soundtrack.

In addition to two trailers, we find Bringing the Rivalry to Life, an eight-part documentary that spans a total of 59 minutes, 52 seconds. It includes notes from director James Mangold, co-writers Jez Butterworth, Jason Keller, and John-Henry Butterworth, Ken Miles’ son Peter, costume designer Daniel Orlandi, stunt driver Allan Padelford, technical advisor Tom Jones, head makeup artist Jane Galli, Ken Miles’ chief mechanic Charles Agapiou, picture car coordinator Rick Collins, stunt coordinator Robert Nagle, art director for vehicles Rob Johnson, production designer Francois Audouy, director of photography Phedon Papamichael, camera operator Onofrio Pansini, supervising sound editor Don Sylvester, editors Mike McCusker and Andrew Buckland, and actors Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Josh Lucas, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Tracy Letts, Ray McKinnon, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, and Alex Gurney.

Across the eight segments, we learn about story/characters and the history behind the tale, Mangold’s impact on the production, cast and performances, costumes and period details, cars, driving, and shooting the race scenes, sets and locations, photography, and audio.

With almost an hour at its disposal, I hoped “Life” would offer a pretty rich look at the production. Alas, it proves much less substantial than anticipated.

Not that we don’t get some decent details, especially when we get to the cars and racing. However, too much of “Life” feels fluffy and without real depth. It’s a decent program but not one that sheds as much light as I’d expect.

At two and a half hours, Ford v Ferrari should probably drag. However, with excellent driving scenes and great chemistry between its leads, this becomes a fun ride. The Blu-ray brings terrific picture and audio along with a disappointing documentary. Despite the lackluster bonus materials, the movie itself satisfies.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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