AndersonVision’s favorite graphic artist Matt Garretson reviews Ford v. Ferrari
I had the opportunity to view Ford v. Ferrari in a Regal theater featuring CJ 4DPLEX Screen-X technology, which touts a 270° field-of-view. In layman’s terms, the walls of the auditorium are used as additional screen space to make use of the viewer’s peripheral vision. It’s a gimmick, but unlike theaters hopping on the IMAX-in-name-only fad with a slightly taller screen, it at least leaves you feeling as if you are experiencing something special that a home theater can’t replicate.
Your mileage may vary, and expectations should be tempered based on a few things. For one, the auditorium didn’t feature screen material on the walls. Images were projected on the charcoal grey fabric, resulting in a slight degradation of vibrancy compared to the main screen. Only certain scenes made use of the walls, and bouncing back and forth between formats made me more aware of the technology being used than the action on the screen. This was compounded by shot transitions appearing to have an additional black frame inserted in-between. There wasn’t a syncing problem between the main screen and the walls, but that slight delay was noticeable.
Ford v. Ferrari itself was perfectly fine in a way that was enjoyable throughout the run-time and then quickly fading from memory on the drive home. I don’t care about James Mangold one way or the other, but other than the second unit driving scenes it all feels very workmanlike. It’s easy to imagine how a director like Soderbergh or the Coens would find a way to add life to a film that mostly takes place in garages, boardrooms, and racetracks.
Bale is wonderful as Ken Miles, who is irascible nearly to the point of parody. His color commentary while behind the wheel helps keep the racing sequences from becoming tedious. At one point, Miles is slowly passing another driver and the look of absolute disgust on Bale’s face would make Karl Urban’s Judge Dredd pale in comparison.
At the other end of the spectrum is Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby. Where Miles is a fully realized character, Shelby is largely undefined by anything besides his former racing glory. Damon does fine in the role, but he exists solely to get Miles behind the wheel. There were also a few scenes where he adopted the same goofball bouncy walk he used in The Informant.
Josh Lucas deserves recognition for once again turning in a legendary performance as a sniveling henchman. I spent most of the film hoping he would fall over a railing onto the race track.