For Enzo Ferrari, racing was a deadly passion, and a terrible pleasure.
For director Michael Mann, the automaker and his obsessive life quickly create an entertaining melodrama in a moment-picture centered on Ferrari and the 1957 Mille Miglia race. Adam Driver once again plays an Italian historical figure after competing with Maurizio Gucci in another great American auteur’s film. House of Gucci” by Ridley Scott plays a grief-stricken Enzo Ferrari, who works to save his company on the brink of bankruptcy while trying to appease his business partner and wife, Laura. She played Penelope Cruz with a desolate inner rage in her best performance since winning an Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In fact, you could argue that Laura, worn like an old shoe and dried up by her husband’s caresses and reckless decisions, is the declining result of the crazy woman she played in the Woody Allen movie. Cruz too, here, extracts comedy and pathos from taking up arms.
“Ferrari,” Mann’s first feature film since 2015’s online terror thriller “Blackhat,” is as operatic as you’d expect from the master of crime dramas like “Heat” and “The Insider,” but it’s also sillier and lighter. on its pedals in ways that work for and against it. The Driver and especially Shailene Woodley – who plays Lina Lardi, Enzo’s side character and mother of his eventual heir Piero Lardi’s Ferrari – clearly struggle with their characters’ Italian accents. But it’s part of the fun in a film that never takes itself too seriously, illustrating Mann’s tough but loose-handed approach to the material, especially in the startling race sequences aided by practical effects and meticulously rendered replicas of vintage Ferraris and Maseratis.
Rather than attempt to synthesize a linear Ferrari biography into a feature film, Mann and screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin distilled from Brock Yates’s nonfiction book “Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machine” a crucial episode in the Ferrari story: It is Modena, Italy, in 1957, and Enzo is mired in… debt, racing upwards against the forces of industrial demand and an impoverished postwar nation, and his spirit shattered by the loss of his son Dino, who had died of muscular dystrophy the previous year. “Ferrari” opens with recreated black and white newsreel footage of Enzo at the helm of a race car. But by the late 1950s, he had given up on that dream and instead attempted to rebuild his empire by selecting younger competitors for the Mille Miglia, a competitive 1,000-mile race across Italy, in the hope that their success would boost sales of his company. The superpower and its public profile.
These include Patrick Dempsey as Piero Taruffi (final winner of this year’s Mille Prize), Gabriel Leone as Alfonso de Portago, Jack O’Connell as Peter Collins and Brett Summers as Olivier Gendebien. But the keeper of the keys and chains in Ferrari’s purse is his wife, Laura, played by a disembodied Cruz who always looks as if she has just finished crying. Cruz and the woman came up with the clever idea of wearing orthotic shoes for the role, giving Cruz a weary wadding fit for Laura’s stressful walk through life after Dino and amidst Enzo’s never-ending affairs. “We agreed that you can have sex with anyone you want but you have to be home before breakfast,” Laura tells Enzo when he returns to their home in Modena after a night spent with Lina in a country house he bought for her and her family. loves a child.
“Ferrari” is actually more compelling in action as a live-action autopsy of Enzo and Laura’s crumbling marriage, with cinematographer Eric Messerschmidt taking close-ups of the actors during their emotional skirmishes – when the camera wouldn’t pull back to reveal things like, say, the pair having sex. forcefully after a malicious agreement was reached that led to their operation. Laura agrees to write Enzo a check for $500,000 to bail Ferrari out of trouble and fund their participation in the 1000th Race – if he is willing to fulfill her terms.
Ferrari is heading towards an inevitable historical tragedy when, near the end of the race, the car driven by de Portago and co-driver Edmund Nelson (Eric Haugen) hits a butt in the road, veering through the air, killing nine people on the side of the road. Spectators cheer for the race. But even before this harrowingly detailed scene — which makes probably the most obvious and poignant use of post-production CGI effects in a primarily action movie — Mann’s movie features a handful of intense racing scenes that are as suspenseful as any of the delirious shootouts in his work. the previous . Mann and editor Pietro Scalia stress the shimmer of metal, the grinding of machinery, and even the cliché mechanics of gear-shifting, as race cars hurtle at 120mph and swing around one another.
But this clever editing is equally true of the film’s psychologically grounded montages, such as the counterattack-arranged sequence in which Enzo, Laura and Lina all attend the same opera, her emotions triggering different dreams and memories in all of them. ‘Ferrari’ is rougher than glossy even at its tightest, with MAN’s search cam not quite fixed in one place. There’s plenty of biting wit, too, as when Peter Collins takes a snack break in the middle of the millennium, eats half a banana, and then the bouncer serves the rest to two kids watching on the racing line, anxiously hoping for a souvenir.
Ultimately, while “Ferrari” does focus on the man of its title, that title also extends to the eponymous dynasty that made Enzo’s empire possible, the people he touched, and the women left scattered by the death drive. The driver’s performance is outstanding, with emotional guards surrounding him even in tense moments like when Enzo looks at his stopwatch to see the latest speed times for his Ferrari. But Cruz snatches the wheel from her co-star in a sad daze but always alert and strong, her face a stone wall of intense pain. (A great close-up of her staring at Dino’s shrine evokes a flurry of conflicting emotions that tells her entire story.) The cast makes great use of Mann’s complex approach in one slice of Enzo’s life, as domestic and professional pressures coalesce in what is ultimately a tragedy. A victory for his company, putting Ferrari once again ahead of the motoring arms race against the likes of Maserati, but a tragedy for his restless and never satisfied being.
Ferrari had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. It`s neon on Christmas day.