In the summer of 1957, sports car pioneer Enzo Ferrari is heading for bankruptcy and a family crisis. Prestigious biopic about the iconic Italian racing magnate and the (horse) power that drove him. Adam Driver struggles with his demons and Penélope Cruz shines in a starring role.
“The director has been trying to realize this project since the 1990s (the credited screenwriter, Troy Kennedy Martin, died in 2009), and one can almost imagine this as a film Mann might have made around that time. Stylistically, Ferrari is much more classical and composed than the digital abstractions of Blackhat (2015), Miami Vice (2006), and Collateral (2004). It has something of the unsettling serenity of Manhunter (1986) and the character detail of Heat (1995). The score from The Insider (1999) even makes a memorable appearance. Like those earlier films, Ferrari is elegant and restless, with a sense throughout that something horrific might be lurking around each corner. And when the director straps his cameras on those cars and sends them on their way, the picture transforms into something more visceral and chaotic, a fever dream (or maybe a nightmare) of speed and smoke.
Mann has always balanced the intimate with the epic. Films like Heat and Miami Vice are as much about men and women and what they say to each other as they are about standoffs and shootouts and getaways. In Ferrari, he might have found the purest expression of this idea. To paraphrase a famous line from Heat, it’s a movie about metals. About the hard and smooth metal that is required, both practically and figuratively, and the way that metal can twist and bend and destroy the people that come in contact with it. In life, as it is in racing.”
“Though he has ventured into television recently, Mann’s last film was 2015’s curious, perhaps unfairly maligned hacker thriller Blackhat. It’s been a long wait to see another of Mann’s muscular visions on the big screen, and while Ferrari is perhaps more muted than some might hope for, it’s a pleasure to watch the filmmaker explore some new styles and timbres. Now 80 years old, Mann has made a film that’s more rueful, contemplative than those in his past. Ferrari the man – who was charged with manslaughter for an accident depicted in the film – is neither venerated nor condemned. But he is perhaps understood, as framed by an old master who himself knows a thing or two about building elegant, sophisticated machines.”
- 1Bilge Ebiri, “In Ferrari, Adam Driver Is a Force of Steel, Asphalt, and Death,” August 31 2023 Vulture.
- 2Richard Lawon, “Michael Mann and Adam Driver Keep Ferrari Firing on All Cylinders,” August 21 2023 Vanity Fair.