CAPSULE REVIEW (500 words or less)
Director Michael Mann doesn’t make too many movies, so, when he does, people pay attention. Mann’s last film was Blackhat, in 2015, so it’s been longer than usual for the critically-acclaimed director of films like The Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Collateral and Heat. As if that wasn’t fodder enough for cinephiles, word was out that Mann’s new film would be called Ferrari, based on the legendary car designer Enzo Ferrari and would star Adam Driver (no pun intended) in the titular role. Fast cars and a former Marine—what better combination for a classic, testosterone-filled Michael Mann picture.
As Oscar season approached, however, the buzz on Ferrari was non-existent, which was not only curious but shocking. And then I saw the movie. Wow, is it bad.
If you mashed House of Gucci with Ford v Ferrari, you’d get Ferrari—and not in a good way. It’s impossible to not have your mind wander to both of those better (barely, in the case of House of Gucci) films while you’re watching Ferrari, from the casting (Driver playing Italian playboy businessmen in both House of Gucci and Ferrari) to the subject matter (race cars and famous Italian brands), to the building up to a famous car race (which Ford v Ferrari does far better), there is no avoiding the fact that Ferrari feels redundant. To make matters worse, Ferrari doesn’t even tell its own story with any conviction, as the screenplay is flat and cliché-ridden.
Everything feels lazy in Ferrari, which is shocking in a film about racing, but that’s exactly the thing: it is not about racing. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be seeing a Michael Mann excitement-infused film that’s chock full of classic cars in thrilling racing sequences. No. What you get is a boring character drama about an uninteresting person who’s actually kind of a jerk, and a story more about his love life than anything having to do with cars.
And when you do get racing sequences, the film gets even lazier, as the CGI feels cheap and borderline comedic. The most memorable thing about Ferrari is a crash scene in which the effects were so bad, we were literally laughing out loud–during the most serious moment of the film.
Kudos do go to Penelope Cruz for being the lone bright spot in this film, as she chews the scenery with gusto, seemingly the only one who understands the film she’s in. But, as for the rest of Ferrari, there’s a reason the film came and went and you probably didn’t even know it exists. Let it stay that way.