film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Ferrari 2023 * * * 1/2 Stars


2023's Ferrari is a movie of violent pulchritude. For every moment of scenic beauty there is a bruising acting showcase between two personas and vehicle racing sequences that demonstrate all things speed kills. It's rather cold and calculated, as only director Michael Mann would require it to be. "If you get into one of my cars, you get in it to win". Indeed.

Distributed by Neon and only chronicling a snapshot of Enzo Ferrari's 90 years of existence circa 1957, Ferrari has Enzo trying to rescue his sports car manufacturer from bankruptcy while dealing with the anger of his deceived wife and hushed questions from his illegitimate son. Oh and there's automobiles too, fast ones that are loud enough to make your ears rattle and have you faintly smelling the propellant. Mann, well he doesn't push the effects here but he doesn't let up either. His head-to-head clips feel material, fully rooted in actuality.

Fleeting plot workings and sleek hoopties aside, Ferrari gets brilliant performances from Adam Driver (no pun intended) as Enzo Ferrari and Penelope Cruz as spouse Laura Ferrari. They immerse themselves into character completely, emoting fervently while swallowing each frame like some F5 tornado hovering over The Sunflower State.

Mann's slick and streamlined direction just props them up even more as he confidently comes back from an 8-year hiatus (remember 2015's Blackhat? Me neither). Heck, there isn't a rack focus, a diluted wide, or a jilted camera movement that Mikey didn't want to throw back into the cinematic ring. His Ferrari has a superior sense of time and place coupled with scrupulous set designs and richly textured, Italian locales. The film is also old-world art, a dismayed downer masking as a slight triumph. It works as a biopic, a period piece, and/or a domestic drama, burning straight through the heart of Enzo's tainted legacy despite having a rather cursory diegesis. "Fuel injected."

Written by Jesse Burleson

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