Review: Ford v Ferrari and Knives Out

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Review: Ford v Ferrari and Knives Out

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Photo by: Merrick Morton

_DSF2755.RAF

Photo by: Merrick Morton

Photo by: Merrick Morton

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Weekend two of being at the movies twice a week has come and gone. I saw one opening weekend and another in an early screening. Pretty good weekend.

Ford v Ferrari

This was one of the movies I was most excited to see, and I was not disappointed. “Ford v Ferrari” is the true story of racing legends Carol Shelby and Ken Miles helping Ford Motor Company sidestep bankruptcy by building the fastest racecar of the time to win the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1966. Director James Mangold commands the camera in this well acted, intense, and entertaining underdog story. 

The heroes of this film are it’s two leads; Matt Damon, as the determined and ambitious Shelby, and Christian Bale, as the grizzled and rowdy Miles. The two are given strong characters to portray and the scenes they share together are some of the best and most fun in the movie, but Bale is the clear standout as the cowboy, Ken Miles. Bale will likely receive another best actor nomination, although he will probably not win as their is a lot of competition this year.  

The other element that drives (pun most certainly intended) the movie is the racing scenes. Both at Daytona and in Le Mans the cinematography is outstanding and the scenes are truly exhilarating. Mangolds ambition of putting the camera in the driver’s seat is executed to perfection, and the lack of computer effects is all the better as it makes the scenes so much more real. The movie also takes a unique track and does a good job of portraying the strategy of winning a race and the elements of driving a racecar besides just turning the wheel and this helps the audience understand that the feats the characters are achieving are so much harder than they seem.   

The film’s main criticism is that the script seems shallow and doesn’t have much nuance and while this is true, I don’t see the problem with it. I love movies with symbolism and afterthought but “Ford v Ferrari” is a movie that shouldn’t require any. Just a simple underdog story that lets you route for the characters and take in the breathtaking action is all that is necessary and is exactly what is achieved. Mangold expertly directs an action packed film, placing two great performances, from two great actors, at centerstage and crafts a tremendously entertaining film.  

Final Score for: Ford v Ferrari

4 out of 5 Stars 

 

Knives Out

I had the privilege of seeing Rian Johnson’s whodunnit a week before it’s wide release and the packed theater and I really enjoyed it. “Knives Out” is the story of the mysterious assumed suicide of the patriarch of a wealthy family on his 85th birthday, and the subsequent investigation into the means and potentially nefarious motivations of his death. 

After initially fitting into the murder mystery genre, “Knives Out” begins to mock it’s own predecessors before turning everything on its head for a fresh take. The script is a character of its own, carrying a complex plot that is typical of the genre but also balancing it with great characters and well executed comedy. An unsung hero is the production design of the family home, in its color and depth, highlighted by Johnson’s camera to allow for some engaging shots. But above all else is Daniel Craig’s, soon to be iconic detective, Benoit Blanc. Blanc is the lens through which the audience sees, and tries to decrypt the film and his bizarrely southern accent and lovable pretension make him a fantastic character, who I wish I could see more of. 

After a quick introduction to the characters, the film unveils its twists in unique ways that keep the two and a half hour film from ever dragging or getting boring. The second act brings new developments to light which will undoubtedly disprove whatever theory you were developing after the first act. Then the third act comes in a whirlwind of twists and answers which leaves the characters all knotted up, and leaves the audience smiling. The script expertly builds off itself and culminates perfectly leaving no stone unturned and no thread left hanging. 

“Knives Out” is a movie that will please crowds everywhere with its compelling story, rollercoaster plot, unsuspecting comedy, and fantastic characters. The film is as artistic as it is fun and the script oozes onto the screen, as the audience absorbs every beautiful shot and every witty line. While the Academy will not come calling the box office will and “Knives Out” will be one of the films that movie goers remember when the year has passed. “Knives Out” is a fresh take on the whodunnit that is more than worthy of Agatha Christie. 

Final Score for: Knives Out

4 out of 5 Stars