Michael Mann returns to the big screen and takes Adam Driver with him. In a short amount of time, Driver has added movies with almost every auteur director in Hollywood. Ferrari takes him up with the best of the best in Michael Mann. This biopic retells the story of how Ferrari made a name for itself on the global stage by winning the biggest race in Italy. For those looking for the best of Michael Mann, this has his highlights. It’s about a man who has almost otherworldly desires to succeed. Enzo Ferrari (Driver) is split into parts, one family man with his mistress (Shailene Woodley), one businessman, one husband to his actual wife Laura (Penelope Cruz), and another for the racers and cars that he provides for.

For a biopic, this doesn’t take a look at the whole life of Enzo, just a small portion that helped launch the company into the cultural zeitgeist. We all know Ferrari for being the fast, usually red, sportscars. But that wasn’t the case during the events of the film. Enzo is pulled in too many directions in the film, Driver puts up an admirable effort with what he’s given, but the character is just run aground doing too many things.

Cruz is the highlight of Ferrari, giving the best performance through plenty of emotions. She knows that Enzo is fooling around behind her back, but nonetheless, she still loves him and supports his business. She might show fury and rage, but there’s still a deep love behind all of that. Throughout the whole film, she’s unpredictable, whereas a lot of Ferrari is predictable. It’s what makes it such a strange and weird film.

You’d think heading into the film that the racing scenes would be thrilling and capture attention. They actually end up feeling more like places to let the audience cool off after some seriously heavy emotional scenes. They feel underwhelming and only at the end with a huge crash (that’s unfortunately shown off in the trailer, so you expect it coming) does it get anywhere near tense. Mann and Co. make you care a bit about the drivers, but the racing is just not up to par in thrills or even tension.

It’s strange that everyone in the film besides Penelope Cruz really doesn’t have a great Italian accent. They range from serviceable (Driver), to downright bad and verging on completely different accents (Woodley). The characters aren’t helped by a script that feels a bit thin and doesn’t make Enzo look like a sharp businessman or competitor.

The film just feels stranger than you’d expect for a biopic. Mann takes some big swings with plot points and the way scenes are shot and blocked. Not all of the choices work; some of them do. The big finale to the race leads to a downright shocking display of blood and gore that really comes out of nowhere. The ending of the film feels poignant and shows that outright manly masculinity doesn’t pay off sometimes. But Ferrari feels like it ends up not mattering with some of the decisions made in the film. It all feels predetermined to work out, and the “roadblocks” along the way are just fabricated for the script.

Ferrari is by no means Michael Mann’s best film, but your time might vary depending on how into the history of Ferrari you are. The performances are hit or miss, especially with accents. The human drama outside of the cars shines brighter than the track.

Ferrari releases in theaters on December 25th.

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