9.5/10 Director James Mangold made some mediocre movies earlier on in his career but seems to have really grown as a director over the past 15 years or so with some excellent work including but not limited to “Walk the Line”, “3:10 to Yuma”, “Logan” and more. Here he delivers what is probably the best film of his career and so far, the best film of 2019. This was in my Honorable Mentions for my Most Anticipated Films of 2019 coming in at #19 and the only thing holding me back from being more excited is the fact that I am not a huge car junkie and didn’t know anything in regards to the true story behind this race, the lead up to it and the aftermath. Now I feel like a fool though since this film blew me away. Even if cars aren’t your thing, the insanely expert technical aspects of how well this film is shot and how beautiful it looks will pull you in and the emotional human drama will keep you around. Despite coming in at around two and a half hours, you never feel the running time due to great pacing, being entertained the entire time and I couldn’t think of any fat to trim. The acting is stellar from the supporting cast to the two co-leads. Christian Bale again transformed after gaining roughly 40 pounds for “Vice”, he has slimmed down to look as close as possible to how the real Ken Miles looked. Damon is great in the film too but since the family dynamic of the film is centered on Bale’s character, he comes across as the stronger of the two. This film surprised me in the fact that it had some really funny humor that I wasn’t expecting. I laughed more in this film than I did in “Jojo Rabbit” or most comedies in 2019. This film has humor, heart, tension, excitement, sorrow, etc. Mangold balances all of these elements extremely well all while giving you a fun history lesson. The chemistry between our two lead characters felt so real and authentic that you almost feel like you grew up with them as kids. Bale’s wife’s character isn’t just a generic female wife role, as she has quite a personality to her and is constantly keeping her husband in check. The recreation of the time period by way of production design, costume design, props, visuals, etc. is truly stunning and I can’t recommend this film enough. If anything, it might be your dad’s new favorite film of all time. The only miniscule complaint I had was that the score was rather unimpressive and forgettable, which was disappointing since it was co-scored by a very talented composer (Marco Beltrami). Minor complaint aside, this is a film everyone should see and after a lot of bad movies this year, I was glad I could cross the 100th Film of 2019 finish line with this winner of a film.
#PardonMyWrench / #TheTalladegaDarkKnight / #Ken220MilesPerHour / #AsTheGoodFordIntended / #LeMangold66 / #TheFordUltimatum