“Ferrari”, on Prime Video: Michael Mann signs a mournful evocation of an episode in the life of the Italian car manufacturer


Veteran of Hollywood from the 1980s-1990s, champion of the melancholic urban thriller with tapered lines ( Le Solitaire in 1981, Heat in 1995), adventurer of the digital transition at the turn of the 21st century ( Collateral in 2004, Miami Vice in 2006) , Michael Mann had let himself lose sight a little lately. After a lackluster Hacker (2015), his only film of the 2010s, it took eight years for his Ferrari to arrive in France, exclusively on Prime Video, according to media chronology. A long-standing project on the famous Italian car manufacturer, who died in 1988, which dates back to the publication, in early 1990, of the biography Enzo Ferrari – The Man and the Machine , by Brock Yates (1933-2016), of which the filmmaker had then considered the adaptation, with Robert De Niro in the title role.

The discovery of this incredibly dull magnus opus brings back doubts that have always surrounded Mann’s career: an unmistakable stylist, gliding over the flows and surfaces of the contemporary world, aren’t his films based on a certain emptiness? The question immediately arises in front of Ferrari , a pure Italian saga shot on location in the heart of the Po Valley, in Italy, but whose international casting practices a kind of English with a foreign accent, a somewhat exotic Hollywood convention. , with hints of counterfeiting, which already made it difficult to understand House of Gucci (2021) by Ridley Scott.

Man divided between two homes

The story opens in Modena in 1957, ten years after the creation, in the aftermath of the war, of Ferrari, a family business co-managed by former racing driver Enzo (Adam Driver) and his wife Laura (Penelope Cruz), who assumes the financial part. Critical period for the manufacturer, whose company lacking liquidity has to open its capital to external investors, at the risk of finding itself merged into larger entities and losing its soul.

The only alternative would be to win, under the nose of competitor Maserati, the next Mille Miglia race, the famous 24 hours Brescia-Rome-Brescia, offering such a publicity stunt that it would swell the order book . A young and ambitious driver, Alfonso De Portago (Gabriel Leone), who could well make the difference, comes to strengthen Scuderia Ferrari. It is up to the team leader to respond to issues that are both technical (designing a more efficient engine), financial, advertising (putting up smoke screens) and personal, because a year after the death of his son Dino, the man is divided between two homes.

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