Production Companies: Moto Pictures, Forward Pass, Storyteller Productions, STXfilms, Ketchup Entertainment, Esme Grace Media, Rocket Science, Cecchi Gori USA, Iverolino and Lady Bacardi Entertainment, Bliss Media, Le Grisbi Productions, Red Sea Film Fund
Director: Michael Mann
Producers: Michael Mann, P.J. Van Sandwijk, Marie Savare, John Lesher, Thomas Hayslip, John Friedberg, Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Gareth West, Lars Sylvest, Thorsten Schumacher, Laura Rister
Scriptwriter: Troy Kennedy Martin
Main Cast: Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Sarah Gadon, Gabriel Leone, Jack O’Connell, Patrick Dempsey
Release Date: December 26th 2023 (UK)
Running Time: 130 minutes
Alas, just like next season Ferrari sure isn’t taking pole position for any awards despite its driving force: Penelope Cruz. Although some of those racing sequences are gorgeous, so props to Michael Mann which he probably wouldn’t be able to see. Insert joke about how dark Ferrari is in lighting terms. That was definitely not the brightest idea… Anyway, this is still an entertaining film with a good drive to it. So without further ado here is my review of the long awaited film.
Ferrari follows the enigmatic and complex Enzo Ferrari (Driver), the head of Ferrari, as he hits a horrible slump in his racing career with his cars struggling for results. This is reinforced by his need to step up in his ailing family life with two separate marriages. One is to his long suffering wife Laura (Cruz) and the other is to his lover Lila (Woodley). This is all while he has to be a good father to his son, Piero. However with the Milla Maglia coming up, Enzo must put all that aside and pull together unless his racing dynasty collapses before his eyes.
Penelope Cruz’s Performance in Ferrari
Well, there’s no better place to start with my analysis of Ferrari than with the performance of Penelope Cruz. Simply put, she’s often the driving force of the film especially in scenes with her estranged husband Enzo. The way she’s able to sound utterly expastrated whilst also seeming like she still cares for Enzo is remarkable.
Also, the use of very low key lighting may make it dioffuclt to see anything at times however its use, particularly in scenes with either Laura or Lila, allows the audience to see how shrouded in secrecy Enzo’s private life was. In addition, look at the scenes in the beginning where she’s constantly having to pick the phone up because Enzo isn’t there. Cruz nails this and the snappy line about how she’s just left picking up after Enzo really encapsulates her character and performance in the film. And to reiterate once again, she’s keeping the film on the road more than Charles and Carlos did last year.
Racing Sequences in Ferrari
Another key reason for Ferrari being as good as it could be is the racing sequences. And this is where the film’s use of two different cinematography styles comes into effect. This is seen with the racing sequences which employ a more dynamic and moving camera. This is seen when Enzo is in church and his latest Ferrari is being tested. With the racing scene, the camera feels like it was set on the car with it moving with the rhythm and turns of the car. This choice allows the audience to feel like they’re doing what every F1 driver did in the 50s and 60s: dancing with death.
Bit of a poor analogy given what happens in the next scene… Anyway, the contrast between the dynamic and bright racing scene to the darkened church scene is brilliant. This is because it encapsulates the two sides of Enzo’s life. Also it captures how racing and religion were often intertwined for him, hence the frequent cuts. Probably some of the nicest race cinematography since Rush espeiclly with the rush of adrenaline you feel.
Adam Driver’s Performance in Ferrari
However, nobody’s perfect as seen by Adam Driver’s performance as the titular Enzo Ferrari. While it’s mostly a pretty good performance, Driver’s performance does swerve a lot which might just have been me. I do love his performance for the most part but maybe it’s just the fact that both the fun fact that this isn’t even the first time Adam Driver has played an Italian man who aggressively f**ks a woman at the table that feels off putting.
Anyway, apart from minor weird details most of the performance is great especially the aforementioned chemistry with Penelope Cruz and Shailene Woodley with him managing to encapsulate the feel of a man trapped by his marriage but also the pressure of his work. Overall, a solid enough performance which feels off, maybe because of the Italian accent he’s using, but still a solid enough driver for the film.
To summarise Ferrari, this is a pretty solid film with a driving force of it’s cinematography, Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz along with a solid performance from Shailene Woodley. All of which is fantastic if only for the fact that you’ll struggle at times to see anything with the lighting choices used. Just like Ferrari’s pitwall choices, not the brightest idea…..
Overall Rating: 6.5/10 – Okay
Target Audience: 15+
Content Warning: Moderate Sex and Nudity, Severe Violence and Gore, Moderate Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes