Ferrari Review

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Is Adam Driver the top-notch non-Italian Italian movie star of his generation? Two years after Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, where he played a prosperous Florentine businessman whose career was greatly aided by a witty wife he once loved but now no longer wants, Driver stars in Michael Mann’s Ferrari as a successful Maranellesi businessman whose career was greatly boosted by a clever wife whom he doesn’t love anymore.

Certainly, there are numerous similarities between House of Gucci and Ferrari, yet the greatest difference is also Ferrari’s biggest strength: whereas Maurizio Gucci was motivated by greed, Enzo Ferrari was driven by grief. In 1957, just one year following the death of his only legitimate son—Alfredo—Enzo’s company and marriage were on the brink of coming to an end.

This focus on Enzo’s personal and family problems oddly transforms Ferrari from a high-octane thriller (a Mann signature) into a more restrained drama. The race car tycoon spends his days either quarreling with his distraught wife Laura (Penélope Cruz), or enjoying idyllic country life with Lina (Shailene Woodley), his mistress since time immemorial; she also happens to be mothering Piero, who remains as their only surviving offspring though not legally recognized. While Alfonso craves for approval in desperate Shakespearean circumstances against the Ferraris’ tragic loss of their last descendant, this split suggests hard questions about permanence and heritage.

In spite of playing second fiddle to the familial disputes at stake in Ferrari however, vroom still abounds in Mann’s automobile biopic. A Spanish driver named Alfonso de Portago (Gabriel Leone) arrives full throttle into Modena: young, aggressive, and ready to put behind himself anything else that will come before driving cars. This means that new talent might actually save Ferrari from going bankrupt and in an effort to get a better offer with a corporate partner, Enzo sends out a group of drivers who will compete – and hopefully win – the prestigious Mille Miglia endurance race.

Mann’s long-awaited racing film may not have many actual racing scenes but boy, do they pack a punch. The director has promised mangled bodies, and that is exactly what he delivers in what might well go down as one of cinema’s greatest crash scenes. A body becomes steel in an instant, lives shattered by the violence of several hundred throttles as rubber fumes fill up into lungs while adrenaline callously magnifies despair. The route of the Mille Miglia is recreated in all its 1950s glory cutting through Italy’s bowels from mountain to brightly-coloured towns; it is vividly framed by David Fincher collaborator Erik Messerschmidt whose eye finds equal beauty amid oil-leaking wrecks and plump, soft skin.

Daniel Pemberton scores Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, an Audioslave-less Mann flick, with gritty metal thuds and engine roars underscored by poignant tunes that fit well into the narrative of Ferrari as a story of loss and longing in their various forms. Besides, a natural tendency towards gloominess also marks Driver’s lead performance here — an extremely austere Italian impersonation; however, it is quite different from Scott’s flamboyant epic. This emanates from the actor’s bulky body in sleek suits and his face framed with Ray-Bans classic glasses plus slicked back silver gray hair.

By definition flamboyant, Cruz is to die for in this role-playing red hot blood Laura – complete with cartoonish dramatics. She sits warily in pitch-black sitting rooms like some heartless signora whose plots or shrewd deals are completely done even before she can utter a word in her thunderous voice. On the other hand, Woodley takes a position as the perfect antithesis despite having been miscast rather darkly. It was such an accent that you would think someone took it out one day for sightseeing somewhere unfamiliar and spun it three times before trying to return home with it. Before casting, there were rumors all over saying that Patrick Dempsey had dyed his hair platinum blonde and pleaded with Mann for a part in this movie about fast cars so that he could play driver Piero Taruffi as efficiently as possible by combining appealing charisma together with sheer poise.

Whenever tires meet pavement, Ferrari feels more than just any Michael Mann film hence reaching fever-pitch adrenaline levels; action sequences are organized so beautifully that most viewers cannot comprehend its bewildering mysteries. On this wise then, since Mann has chosen our contact point into Ferrari’s life troubles at large becoming involved in a racing game frenzy therefore placing everything at stake which is no good especially when starting on something new.


The last eight years have been marked by a long-awaited return of Michael Mann, one of the most famous directors in the world, with his first movie being about Enzo Ferrari who is the founder of “Ferrari” during the most important period of his life. Ferrari may not have enough of it as a family matter rather than being an action-packed thriller hence why it benefits from another fantastic performance by Adam Driver and a few incredibly well-choreographed racing scenes only to be too cautious.

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