Ferrari | Picturehouse Recommends

Adam Driver (appropriately) stars as the father of the iconic brand in this pedal-to-the-metal drama from director Michael Mann.

James Mottram

22 Dec 23

Michael Mann

Release Date
26 December


Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Gadon, Jack O'Connell


Running Time
130 mins

Eight years after his last film, esteemed filmmaker Michael Mann is back with Ferrari. The director of such classics as The Last Of The Mohicans, Heat and The Insider has been working on a film about Enzo Ferrari for over 20 years – and, finally, he's delivered this complex, compelling, splendid portrait of the Italian race-car pioneer.

Continuing his run working with Hollywood's best filmmakers, Adam Driver stars as Ferrari at a point where his life and his business are on the brink of implosion.

Adapted from Brock Yates' book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Races, The Machine, the film doesn't attempt a cradle-to-the-grave bio. Rather, it spans just three months of 1957, a decade on from when this former Alfa Romeo racing driver launched his first Ferrari car, the 125 S.

Living in Italy with his wife Laura (Penélope Cruz), he is now facing mounting business pressures; the death of their son Alfredo, just a year earlier, has left them heartbroken.

With Driver's silver-fox haircut lending him a rakish air, Ferrari is depicted as a ruthless figure – as seen when he immediately employs Spanish driver Alfonso De Portago (Gabriel Leone) to replace another of his stable who loses his life on the track. With death never far away in Ferrari, there is no room for sentimentality.

Mann, working from a script by the late writer Troy Kennedy Martin (The Italian Job, Edge Of Darkness), suggests that Enzo Ferrari lived his life exactly this way. If his business life is a mess – he's told he needs to up production by four times, to sell 400 cars a year or watch the company go under – his personal life is just as chaotic.

In the shadows is Lina Lardi (Shailene Woodley), who has a son by Ferrari. As the boy's confirmation approaches, will he take her name or Ferrari's?

Amid all of this, Ferrari decides to enter the Mille Miglia, a 1,500km endurance race, which – if he wins – will help rescue his ailing business.

Powered by British composer Daniel Pemberton's emphatic score, Mann's film is an impeccably crafted work. With stellar support from the likes of Jack O'Connell and Patrick Dempsey as drivers, there's a genuine fidelity to the way the 1950s version of this sport is portrayed.

Equally impressive are the raw domestic scenes between Enzo and Laura, thanks particularly to Cruz, becoming a force of nature as her character tears into her unfaithful husband.

The race scenes, though, are sublime, with Mann and his cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt (who recently shot The Killer for David Fincher) putting you behind the wheel. A word too for David Werntz, the film's sound designer, who truly revels in creating the roar of these old-school engines.

More than anything, Mann conveys what Ferrari calls the "terrible joy" of motorsport, the passion that can lead to pain. Every time a driver slips into his car, he's putting his life on the line, even risking the lives of those around him. With this in mind, Ferrari has moments that will leave your jaw hanging slack.

No racing film comes close to what Mann does in the final act. Get ready for that chequered flag.  James Mottram

You'll like this

If you enjoyed these films



Le Mans '66


House of Gucci


Pick up a copy of Picturehouse Recommends at a Picturehouse Cinema near you, or become a Member.

Ferrari is in cinemas from 26 Dec Book Now!