review by Bobby Blakey
Directed by Michael Mann has brought some great flicks to the big screen including Heat, Ali, Collateral, and Public Enemies. For twenty years he has been trying to get his latest film Ferarri made, and it is finally here. The film features a great cast including Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Sarah Gordon, Gabriel Leone, Jack O'Connell, and Patrick Dempsey, but does it do this icon in the automobile industry justice, or will it run out of gas?
Ferrari follows the spectacle of Formula 1, where ex-racer Enzo Ferrari is in crisis in the summer of 1957. Bankruptcy threatens the factory he and his wife, Laura, built from nothing ten years earlier. Their volatile marriage has been battered by the loss of their son, Dino, a year earlier. Ferrari struggles to acknowledge his son Piero with Lina Lardi. Meanwhile, his drivers’ passion to win pushes them to the edge as they launch into the treacherous 1,000-mile race across Italy, the Mille Miglia.
Heading into this film I expected it to be a longer time in the legacy of Enzo Ferrari, but what Mann has done here is capture just a part of his life and manage to make it do everything it needs to do. The era of his career and life was filled with so many obstacles in the industry and of his own making that makes for some great storytelling. It dives right into the story as though we already know what is going on, which usually annoys me, but the context here give you questions, answers and pulls you in right away.
There are ups and downs throughout the story regarding pacing. Being as we are dealing with his daily life as well as the preparation for the race, it isn’t all that surprising. His fractured and secret relationships are both important for this era of his life and the company, but also works to see the kind of man he is and how he sees his own future. Adam Driver is fantastic here in one of his best performances. He brings a stoic presence that showcases confidence, power and
selfishness in his pursuit of all the things he wants, but still shows his heart and passion for the same things.
The rest of the cast are all great as well with Penelope Cruz showcasing the most depth and power, especially in the third act when things are revealed to her. She is not having it and pulls no punches with her anger and dedication to getting what she wants and deserves. On the flip side is Shailene Woodley who brings a softer tone to his life while still not willing to take any of his nonsense.
The aesthetic of it all looks so good. Mann has crafted a beautiful look into this time and country as we prepare for the race to come. The racing sequences are well shot and take the time to not only keep it interesting, but also showcase the brutal truth to racing during this time. Without the safety options we have today it would have been much more dangerous, and they manage to shine a light on that in some big ways. One in particular is the bloody truth of the outcome of some accidents that really brings it to further light and context.
If I have any complaint, it is in some of the CGI used in the car accidents. They look fine but are over the top so much that the CGI shines through. Not sure why this choice was made other than the attempt to make a safer set or due to budget constraints, but they are pretty glaring. For me it didn’t ruin anything and still has the same impact but does stand out more than you might hope for.
Decide for yourself and race into theaters to check out Ferrari in theaters now.