Director James Mangold (Logan) brings an old-fashioned sports epic to the screen with Ford v Ferrari with the help of stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale.
Based on a true story, the film follows Carroll Shelby (Damon), a once great race car driver who becomes a car designer after retiring due to heart issues. When Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) gets angry over his company's declining profits and public image, a young executive named Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) suggests Ford build race cars to challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Damon is enlisted to build the car and he recruits the brilliant-but-temperamental driver Ken Miles (Bale) to go behind the wheel.
Damon and Bale both have charisma to spare as the leads. Letts (The Post, Lady Bird) remains a strong character actor in support as the blustery Ford. Mangold stages the racing scenes effectively, and the film conveys a sense of how exhausting, difficult, and dangerous it would be to fly a car around a race track for 24 consecutive hours. It also understands that sports is about giving all you have even though you don't know where or how the journey will end. I know next to nothing about cars and have zero interest in racing, but the film held my attention.