Ferrari (Michael Mann, 2023, USA/UK/Italy/China)

Ferrari is the latest long-gestating project from Michael Mann, the director's first since 2015's Blackhat. The project began in the 1990s, first with Christian Bale attached, and then later on with Hugh Jackman. Eventually, we landed with Adam Driver in the title role, Penelope Cruz as his wife, and Shailene Woodley as his mistress. Driver is surprisingly strong in the lead, and while he doesn't quite master the Italian accent, he conveys the role with conviction. Cruz is probably the film's highlight - her scenes are uniformly electrifying. Woodley is perhaps the most baffling casting choice and one of the film's central flaws.

Like Killers of the Flower MoonFerrari is an old man's film, and mortality is central to the film's story. Ferrari, who has lost a child, is on the verge of losing his business. He must prove his merit in extremely dangerous races, wherein he is not the driver but he has a team of drivers. Ferrari is far from the fast-paced racing films like Ford vs. Ferrari - it is a much more contemplative mood piece, unlikely to appeal much to car fanatics. 

While the film has some technical issues and could have used more budget for its special effects, there is a transportive quality to the film. The racing scenes are excellent, although sometimes it is difficult to tell who is who. This may be beside the point, after all. For many, Ferrari may be too enigmatic here to carry an entire film on his shoulders. But for those familiar with Mann's oeuvre, this will not come as a huge surprise. Ferrari is a mixed bag overall, but with enough great moments and good ideas to make it worth seeing. Hopefully, it won't be Mann's last film, as it seems he still has a lot of vitality as a director.



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