Ferrari

Watch Selected Independent and Cult Films

Watch hundreds of rare independent and arthouse films, cult films and hand-picked documentaries from around the world with a single subscription, on any device. No limits, no ads.

Table of Contents

Ferrari is a biopic of 2023 directed by Michael Mann and starring Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey, Jack O’Connell, Sarah Gadon and Gabriel Leone. The film tells the story of Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the automotive company of the same name.

The film is set in 1957, a crucial year in Ferrari’s life. His company is in serious financial difficulty, his marriage to Laura is in crisis and the death of his son Dino has left him devastated. In this moment of difficulty, Ferrari decides to bet everything on the Mille Miglia, a car speed race taking place in Italy.

The film follows Ferrari during the preparation for the race, which turns out to be a very demanding challenge. Its drivers have to face the dangers of Italian roads, adverse weather conditions and fierce competition from other teams.

The film was praised for its performances, direction and cinematography. Adam Driver was particularly praised for his performance as Ferrari, which was described as “intense” and “magnetic”.

Penélope Cruz was also praised for her performance as Laura Ferrari, Enzo’s wife. Their relationship has been described as “passionate” and “complicated”.

The film was a commercial success, grossing over $100 million worldwide. It was also a critical success, earning a score of 83 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes.

Plot

The film begins in 1957, with Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) finding himself in a difficult place in his life. His company, Scuderia Ferrari, is in serious financial trouble, his marriage to Laura (Penélope Cruz) is in crisis and the death of his son Dino (Giuseppe Martini) has left him devastated.

Enzo is a proud and determined man, and is not willing to accept defeat. He decides to bet everything on the Mille Miglia, a car speed race taking place in Italy.

The Mille Miglia is an extremely demanding race, taking place over a route of over 1,000 miles across Italy. The drivers must face the dangers of Italian roads, adverse weather conditions and fierce competition from other teams.

Enzo prepares for the race with great determination. He works tirelessly with his engineers and drivers to create the perfect machine.

The race begins on May 2, 1957. Enzo is present at the start, and watches the race with anxiety and hope.

The race is a success for Ferrari. Its pilots, Luigi Chinetti (Patrick Dempsey) and Wolfgang von Trips (Jack O’Connell), take first and second place.

In addition to the main story, the film also explores other aspects of Enzo Ferrari’s life. We talk about his passion for cars, his relationship with Laura and Dino, and his vision of the world.

Subscribe

Production

The project of a film about Enzo Ferrari has been in the works for a long time. Director Michael Mann began developing the idea in 2000, but the project was abandoned several times for various reasons.

In 2020, Mann took back the project and began working on a screenplay with his longtime collaborator, Ehren Kruger. The film was produced by Mann, Jerry Bruckheimer, P.J. van Sandwijk and Lars Sylvest.

Filming for the film began in August 2022 and took place in Italy, including Brescia, Fiorano, Maranello, Modena and Rome. The production used vintage Ferrari cars for the racing scenes.

Here are some specific details about the film’s production:

  • The film’s budget was $100 million.
  • The film was shot in 65mm, a cinema format that provides superior image quality.
  • The film’s soundtrack was composed by Ludovico Einaudi.

The film was a commercial success, grossing over $100 million worldwide. It was also a critical success, earning a score of 83 out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes.

Distribution

The film had its world premiere at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on 31 August 2023, where it was selected to compete for the Golden Lion. The film was released in Italian cinemas on 14 December 2023.

Hospitality

The film was received with generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 83%, based on 280 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site’s critical consensus reads: “A gripping and well-made biopic, Ferrari offers a fascinating insight into the life of a man who left an indelible mark on the history of motoring.”

Here are some specific comments from critics:

  • “A powerful and engaging biopic that captures the essence of an extraordinary man.” – The Hollywood Reporter
  • “Adam Driver is stunning as Enzo Ferrari, delivering an intense and magnetic performance.” – Variety
  • “A visually stunning film that captures the authentic beauty of Italy.” – The New York Times

Review

by Fabio Del Greco

The film begins with a lively black and white sequence that mixes archive footage of car races from the 1930s and fake period images with a young Enzo Ferrari, played by Adam Driver, competing as a driver. It’s an ideal sequence for Michael Mann, who starts the film in style, right into the action.

In fact, the best of the film can be seen right in the races, in breathtaking scenes, where the director shows off all his wisdom in creating adrenaline, action, suspense with his masterful editing.

Adam Driver is impeccable in his performance, but Ferrari’s character deserved a different depth that only an Italian director could have given. His character, the context of the province of Modena in which his human events take place seems like something out of an American crime film. A film by Michael Mann, in fact.

It all seems too cold, too serious, to be an Italian province of Emilia Romagna in the 1950s. Ferrari is portrayed as a cynical man, always interested in winning, in solving his family problems, a man of action, of great charisma, of enormous selfishness, who manages to drag his group, often towards death. But the details are missing, the little things that would have made him a human character, a truly Italian character.

The characters described by American films always seem to be similar: dominant males, seeking success at all costs, a little crazy and blinded by their ego, with a complicated private life. Whether their name is Oppenheimer, Napoleon or Ferrari, they all seem a bit alike. Perhaps their problem is that they are characters told by a globalized production.

They lack the local dimension, the depth of those who know the story from the inside, from the same culture, from the same territory. Americans think that through resources, budget and historical in-depth analysis during the screenplay stage, films can be made about the stories of any country. But what comes out is a caricature of that country.

It is no coincidence that the greatest director in the history of cinema was the most “local” director imaginable: Federico Fellini. Well, a film like this would have been more interesting in the hands of Fellini, who was born and lived a few kilometers from Ferrari’s Modena. Obviously it would have been a completely different film. But I give this example to say that the clichés of the Italian family and the characters in this film are not convincing.

In Italy you cannot tell a story where a group of people is united only by ambition and the search for victory at all costs, where family conflicts are discussed like business talks. The film is set in Emilia, the landscapes are those of northern Italy, but it seems to all intents and purposes to be an American story. The small details that should have been the soul of the film are missing. And instead we only find a few sponsor logos from the 1950s attached to the cars, and nothing more. It is the story of an Italian myth without Italy.

The film is acted impeccably by Adam Driver, who perhaps could have benefited from a less wooden and rigid character. More exciting is Penelope Cruz in the role of Ferrari’s wounded and aggressive wife: the character who manages everything from behind the scenes. The flashbacks with which Mann reconstructs the story of his private affair, the meeting with his future lover, are told on the screen hastily.

What really excites about this film is what Michael Mann can do. Adrenaline, action, editing that leaves you breathless, exceptional sound design that transports you to another universe, like in the shootouts in Public Enemy. Sounds that become a real sound score. The racing sequences are the best of this film. It goes from clutch detail to aerial shots in a sublime way.

Michael Mann is an exceptional director at making action movie, full of suspense and adrenaline, in drawing with few strokes hard and cynical characters suitable for that type of story. The biopic, even if you can see all the director’s skill, is probably not his ideal territory. If the biographical film is set in Italy in the 1950s, one wonders how the idea for this project could have arisen, which would have needed another warmth, another liveliness, in the part dedicated to Ferrari’s private affair.

Rating
Fabio Del Greco

Fabio Del Greco

Director, screenwriter, actor, creator of moving images since 1987. Passionate about cinema and scholar of the seventh art.

Hundreds of Movies and Documentaries Selected Without Limits

New movies every week. Watch on any device, without any ads. Cancel at any time.