Ford v Ferrari

The true story of sports car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles' partnership with the Ford Motor Company to challenge legendary Ferrari and perhaps win racing's ultimate test of endurance, the 24 hours of Le Mans, is can't-miss Hollywood gold. While not quite a David v Goliath tale—we learn that cash-strapped Ferrari was something of an underdog—the results here are a heartfelt ode to cars, speed, second chances and next chapters, and good old American ingenuity. The protagonists are fascinating (goodness, Henry Ford II must have been a piece of work), the antagonists infuriating, the stakes high, and the race scenes thrilling, with no shortage of gasp-out-loud moments when man or machine fails.

320ford.boxFord v Ferrari was shot with digital cameras and the 4K home presentation is strong. Faces show exceptional detail and there's an often-dazzling clarity in the distant backgrounds of wide shots, be they desert hills or huge crowds of spectators at a motorway. I did note some artifacts in a close-up of a radio grille, but this was a rare anomaly. The value of HDR10 high dynamic range is evident in the many car headlights at night, as well as the frequently shadowy locales, dark business suits, and backlit actors. Colors are lovely, confirming director James Mangold's penchant for dusk-set scenes. The 1080p Blu-ray disc, while good, looks less punchy in all respects.


The soundtrack brilliantly depicts the many cars zooming around the track—and the home theater—in all their aggressive glory, with ample bass and a distinctive sonic character for each vehicle's engine. On top of that, the Dolby Atmos mix (the movie won an Oscar for sound editing) expands the experience via powerful ambience, notably in crashes and most memorably in a roaring airplane flyover. The excellent track is gripping from start to finish and is undoubtedly a big reason why the drama is so engaging. Even the 7.1-channel DTS-HD Master Audio track on the regular Blu-ray is still pretty enjoyable.


There's no bonus content on the 4K disc, but the regular Blu-ray houses an hour-long "making of" that covers all topics we would hope to hear about, both fact and fiction. The included Movies Anywhere 4K digital copy unlocks two additional vignettes, including one on the painstaking recreation of the iconic Le Mans racetrack.

STUDIO: Fox, 2019
AUDIO FORMAT: Dolby Atmos with TrueHD 7.1 core
LENGTH: 153 mins.
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
STARRING: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe

mtrot's picture

Great film. I thought Bale was fantastic as Ken Miles and Damon played an authentically obnoxious Carrol Shelby. As I didn't really know any of the back story about the 1966 Le Mans competition between Ford and Ferrari, it really took me back and transported me into a different time and places. I have not seen the UHD Blu-ray, but the Blu-ray image quality and sound were great.

jeffhenning's picture

Even though it's not 100% factual, that's no reason to trash it because it is one of the better films of the year. It's one of the best movies about racing ever.

My one quibble (and it's not picking a knit) is that Matt Damon just doesn't have the physical stature and presence to be a convincing Carol Shelby. Damon is at best a half foot shorter than Shelby. Given the way everyone in acting lies about their stats, he's most likely 8 inches shorter.

Shelby was from Texas, he was 6', 6" and, because his name was Carol, no one was pushing him around or telling him what's what. If he thought you were wrong, you knew it. He was also loyal to a fault and liked having a good time when he wasn't working.

You don't get almost any of this from Damon, but he did convey how driven Shelby was. Damon was miscast. It happens. Still enjoyed the movie.

I liked "Joker" better.

David Vaughn's picture
2019 is probably the strongest year of movies in this century and of all of them, I thought this was the best of the bunch and would have received my vote for Best Picture. Frankly, Bale got screwed not getting an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor--he was marvelous.