In 1957, Italian auto impresario Enzo Ferrari (Adam Driver) and his racing empire are in crisis mode. Facing bankruptcy and in danger of losing the business he started ten years earlier with his wife, Laura (Penelope Cruz), the car builder hinges his future on winning the Mille Miglia, a grueling one thousand mile endurance race across Italy that could save “Ferrari.”

Laura's Review: B-

Robin's Review: B-

Michael Mann has been involved in creating “Ferrari” since 2000 when he began the process. Over the years, there have been many hands involved before Mann was able to muster the money, cast and crew to get his long-time vision to the big screen.

The story begins ten years after Enzo and Laura rebuilt their company following the devastation of World War II. While they are successful at racing, registering a string of wins and championships, the business is in dire financial straits. Enzo is told by his business manager, Alfonso (Gabriel Leone), that they have to sell four times more cars to dig out of the debt.

Following a failed merger with Ford Motor Company, Enzo decides that the famous Mille Miglia will be the key to his future success. They go all out, fielding five cars against their chief rival, Maserati. The detailed preparation and the big race are the meat of the “Ferrari” story and the execution is sweaty palm-inducing racing action, though only a part of the film’s total.

The story is interesting, but I have issues with casting Adam Driver as the title character. There is blandness to the performance that lacks the passion that a man like Enzo Ferrari would/should have. On the other hand, Penelope Cruz, as business-savvy Laura, provides plenty of energy as the woman behind the throne. Shailene Woodley, as Enzo’s mistress and mother to his second son, Lina, helps give Enzo more depth but not nearly enough.

The real draw for an old-time car racing fan, like me, who eagerly followed the Ferrari vs. Porsche battles on the track in the 60s and 70s, is simply the racing. The attention to the details and action of the then Ferrari-Maserati head to head battles is worth the price of admission – as well as seeing some classic race cars from the 1950s.

I wonder if Christian Bale or Hugh Jackman, both cast earlier to play Il Commendatore, would have given more life to the dynamic role of Enzo Ferrari. I would hope so.

Laura's Score: B-

Neon opens "Ferrari" in theaters on 12/25/23.