Ferrari and its bad seasons - 7.5/10

by Jad Sammour

Watched on January 4, 2024 - double feature with The Iron Claw.

Ferrari is mostly a thrill to watch. It is an intimate telling of a delicate season in Ferrari’s history (company and founders) and it balances personal and professional stakes as the story moves forward. The first 10-20 minutes are equally confusing and engaging, and it comes off as a rocky start but it does convey the chaos and complexity of Enzo Ferrari’s life as the narrative starts to gradually ease you in on the details. Here, time, despair, and the complex personal (marriage, grief, duty, family) and professional (the future of the company) lives of Enzo Ferrari drive (pun unintended) the story and are the main pressure points. I will not go into their details and I recommend NOT googling any aspects of the film if you are not familiar with the time frame during which the story takes place (1957). It’s a simple story and it starts at an unsteady point with tension and problems mounting up to reach the climax at the end, and throughout the story you figure out who the characters are, what they are going through, what are the stakes, etc… I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t a biopic nor a fully-committed thriller, but almost a slice of life type of film telling this critical time in Ferrari’s personal and professional lives. Adam driver is great, playing a mature and calculated man doing all he can to save his company and name - the stakes are thoroughly explored and you feel the weight on his shoulders which is highlighted by the text and Mann’s high angle close-ups. Opposite of Driver, Penelope Cruz plays an enraged grieving woman, the behavioral opposite of Enzo Ferrari. Her performance is bursts of anger for most of her screen presence which does come off as annoying sometimes but it feels justified as the the story unravels. Shailene Woodley’s Italian accent is atrocious. Gabriel Leone who plays Di Portaga is very lovable and you root for his character. 

Michael Mann did a great job directing this film, though I wish he worked harder with the editor because the editing can be all over the place sometimes. The cinematography and compositions work well with the story. The racing sequences are thrilling and the drama is well-told. The screenplay feels slightly old fashioned and I found this somewhat refreshing.

Some of the stunt and CG dummies look very un-human which took me out of some shocking moments. One thing I hated is the fact that by the time the film was over, my brain had completely blacked out the score as if there wasn’t any music; I don’t remember a single thing about the music! I don’t think I should blame the film but I saw The Iron Claw right before and that drumming music is still stuck in my head even a few days later.

In conclusion, Ferrari is great. I really liked it.


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