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  • Gareth Crook

Ferrari (2023) - 5/10

I’m a car fan, but not a fanatic. I’m an F1 fan, but think it’s lost its way. I’m more than aware of the myth of Ferrari. It’s just that though, a swirl of romanticised history lost in a flash of red. The question is, is it better that way or is there some worth at looking under the hood. Expect lots of style and sheen here as we head back to the mid 50s to meet Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) in post war Italy, trying to build fast cars to match his lifestyle. It’s dangerous of course, as is his wife Laura (Penélope Cruz) who tries to keep his philandering in check with a revolver. It tries valiantly to add some heft to the story. A family shrouded in tragedy, from the war, lost children, failing marriages and both Driver and especially Cruz portray it well, but it still feels like padding. This all services the myth, but it’s not until we hear an engine roar that this finds any traction. It’s not a Ferrari though, it’s a competitor, Maserati. Even then it’s ironically slow. Enzo is cold and controlled. Unwilling to compromise, even as the company spirals into debt. In short he’s stubborn. The solution posed is obviously to win more races and promote the brand, “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. It all feels a bit muddled though, the racing is fun, when we finally get there. There’s plenty of history, but it’s mostly surface and its biggest problem is Enzo, he’s just not very likable. I found myself not rooting for him and his cars one bit. He seems incapable of the romance we’re sold on, he just strings people along, like his mistress Lina Lardi (Shailene Woodley). Aside Cruz, the acting is all a bit wooden, although a small role for Patrick Dempsey is fun, at least he’s authentic as a proper petrol head. He’s one of a team of drivers that will compete for Ferrari in the Mille Miglia, a 1600km race across Italy. The race sequences are fun. Full of low angles and gear changes. The cars look spectacular and the guttural engine sounds are magnificent. It helps too that the Italian countryside and towns both look incredible. It’s the very definition of cinematic. Neither this or Cruz (who carries this) is quite enough to save this though. It’s not terrible, just a bit flabby and unfocused or maybe, just maybe there’s not that much substance behind the myth.



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