Ciao Outposters! Eggyio Mattzo here with a review of Michael Mann’s eagerly anticipated Ferrari and it was fantastico!

This is not a biopic of Enzo Ferrari so don’t expect to see him growing up, racing or building the company etc. This movie is based on the 1991 biography called Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machine which Troy Kennedy Martiny wrote and it’s mainly set during the summer of 1957.

As bankruptcy looms over the company and Enzo decides to roll the dice and wager it all on the iconic Mille Miglia, a treacherous 1000-mile race across Italy. The movie isn’t solely focused on this, with several stories all interwoven to give us the whole. As you would expect, Michael Mann manages all this with aplomb and you are never left confused or unengaged even when the subject moves away from the vroom-vrooms.

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Not Just About Racing

Early on we are introduced to Enzo at the age of 59, his life away from the cars, and his wife, Laura Dominica Garello Ferrari. He has, what I suppose you would call a second family with his mistress, Linda Lardi. To be fair, calling her a mistress is a disservice to her as she is pretty much a doting second wife. They have a son called Piero and both are unbeknown to his official wife Laura.

Laura and Enzo are seemingly in a marriage of convenience. Their love never survived the death of their son Alfredo who died at just 24 from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As you would expect, Laura (played by Penelope Cruz) is an angry, bitter woman and a force to be reckoned with. She controls the Ferrari money and is far more than just a run-of-the-mill wife to a living legend.

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When he’s not with Linda and his son, Enzo buries himself in his work and his passion for racing. After the loss of two close friends and his son, he confesses to having shut himself off from emotion where death seems to have very little effect on him anymore.

Enzo Ferrari is a man fighting for his company, his name, and his reputation. He’s in a battle with his wife who is also his confidant and a business partner. He is also a man who has once again found love in Linda who has given him a new heir and whose very existence he must keep secret from his wife for not just personal reasons but financial.

For your petrolheads out there, don’t let this be a deterrent because this is so much more than a film about racing. All these contributing factors and side stories are rich in content, informative, and seamlessly combined to give you a great insight into one specific moment in history.

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A Mann Masterclass™

As you would expect from someone like Michael Mann, Ferrari is beautiful and well-crafted. However, the credit cannot solely be attributed to just him. The acting, camerawork, cinematography, sound effects, and editing of every single scene are sublime. To coin a pun, Michael Mann has created a well-oiled machine that works so well, that I can honestly say it’s some of the best work I have seen.

Even what some may consider to be a mundane story arc, for example, Laura’s frequent visits to the bank and what transpires there, are captivating when they shouldn’t be. Cruz is excellent in every scene and storms around like a woman using every inch of her willpower to not erupt in fury or buckle at the knees and collapse in a fit of despair. All the while scheming and plotting knowing the truth will bring her more anger or more heartbreak.

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Adam Driver is incredible as Enzo and one could argue is his best performance to date. A doting father in one scene, a vulnerable man in need of an old friend’s advice in another, and then a cold ruthless business owner who is telling his drivers that he expects them to die rather than give ground to a competitor during the race.

All this is handled with some extremely slick and stylish camera work and stunning cinematography. Editing is often a craft that goes unappreciated in movies but not here. If you can’t appreciate the way the editing is used to build upon scenes and keep you from reaching for your phone, then you have no business here my friend.

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The Race

And once the racing starts, everyone is on top of their game and everything mentioned above is dialed up to 1000.

The way the camera effortlessly moves in and out of cars, zooms in on the drivers, and then pans out to reveal the landscapes is inspiring. Combined with the clever editing where one moment you are watching the road from the view of the driver, then glimpses of faces in the crowd as you whizz by.

The next you are watching feet quickly switching between clutches and accelerators before watching the handy work of gears changing and wheels gathering pace. Intermixed is the delightful guttural raw sound of the engines working at full capacity. The sound of the tyres on the road makes you feel like you can smell the rubber burning and feel the vibrations. And the intense breathing of the drivers makes everything personal and exhilarating.

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The Moment

Like most Michale Mann films, there is always that one moment that makes you sit back and go “fuuuuuuck”. We had it with Heat when the bank robbery all went to hell. Again when Ali knocked out Foreman the rain descended. Mann always gives you one chaotic/magical moment in a seemingly mundane scene that leaves your jaw agape.

I won’t say anymore apart from Alfonso de Portago… “fuuuuuuck”.

 

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