Starring: Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Gabriel Leone, and Patrick Dempsey
Director: Michael Mann
While not a bad movie by any means, Ferrari never makes a case to justify its existence. Yes, from a craft perspective, it’s obviously very well done, from Michael Mann’s direction to the performances of Adam Driver and Penélope Cruz; however, the main story is about a man that isn’t particularly interesting. Enzo Ferrari (Driver) is never shown to be a ruthless tyrant, a savvy businessman, or a brilliant car designer. He’s just a dude who has marital problems. Ferrari is only truly compelling during the too few race sequences, which are beautiful and picturesque (two scenes in particular elicited audible gasps from the audience).
Ferrari looks and sounds epic much like an opera looks and sounds epic. It’s loud, boisterous, and passionate. Yet, since I inherently don’t understand the words, the emotional impact doesn’t hit as hard as it should. I’m not saying I couldn’t understand the dialogue (though some of the accents are a bit off-putting, honestly), but many of the conversations feel like grand opuses with empty importance. I could feel Penélope Cruz’s bubbling rage. I could feel Adam Driver’s cold determination. I could feel the race car engines’ roar in my bones. But will I remember the point of that fervor tomorrow? Probably not.
Director Michael Mann is back with Ferrari, and the result is an exciting thrill ride through a mixed bag. Adam Driver and especially Penélope Cruz shine bright; however, from an emotional angle, though the film tries its best, it mostly lacks any real connection. Overall, I found that the narrative struggled in the beginning (and it's worth pointing out that Shailene Woodley is terrible), but thankfully, I was invested enough in the story in the second half to be engaged. The pacing is well constructed and entertaining too, which is enough for this ride to be a worthwhile one.
I was so excited for Ferrari, but alas…*sigh*. While it isn’t anywhere near the bottom of 2023 releases, it certainly isn’t at the top either. With Penélope Cruz’ performance as the highlight (Adam Driver is a close second), there is little else to praise. Issues included…*deep breath*…bad and inconsistent accents, unexciting racing scenes, a completely unfocused script, I had no idea who half of the characters were, and the pacing is so wonky that it made the film feel twice as long as it really is…*exhale*. Basically, this one drives right up the middle of the road.
This film was reviewed by Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2023 Venice International Film Festival.