A highly anticipated biopic
With someone like Mann behind the camera (Heat, The Last of the Mohicans, Collateral), who also knows how to show off cars (let’s not forget he produced the Miami Vice series and Le Mans 66, and directed its film adaptation in 2006), we can expect a quality and well-written feature film.
Based on a book published in 1991, Enzo Ferrari – The Man and the Machine by Brock Yates, the film sets its action in 1957. Ferrari was then in the midst of a crisis, both personally and professionally. The Commendatore had been brutally struck by the tragic death of his son, Dino, the previous year, aged just 24, and his marriage was falling apart as he had a natural son with his mistress. Ferrari nearly dropped everything, especially as sales plummeted after road racing was banned following the 1955 Le Mans disaster, depriving it of much of its gentleman driver clientele.
A challenging timeline
The synopsis reads: “It’s the summer of 1957. Behind the spectacle of Formula 1, ex-racer Enzo Ferrari is in crisis. Bankruptcy threatens the factory he and his wife, Laura, built from scratch ten years earlier. Their unstable marriage was rocked by the loss of their son, Dino, a year earlier. Ferrari struggles to recognize his son Piero with Lina Lardi. Meanwhile, its riders’ passion for victory pushes them to their limits as they embark on the perilous 1,000-mile race across Italy, the Mille Miglia. »
This calls out a little, because in the summer of 1957, the Mille Miglia already took place in May and was marked by the disaster of the accident of Alfonso de Portago, which will cause a huge controversy in Italy. The Vatican itself got involved, accusing Ferrari of being a new “Saturn that devours its children”. Well, we know that Americans are not disturbed by the scrupulous respect for facts, as we saw for Le Mans 1966, but perhaps this drama and its consequences will be evoked as the culmination of a man and of his business in crisis.
The cast is made up of Adam Driver (Marriage Story, BlacKkKlansman, Star Wars, Gucci) playing Enzo Ferrari, Penélope Cruz his wife Laura and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, Divergent, Our Contrary Stars) his mistress Lina Lardi. Patrick Dempsez (four participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 2009 and 2015) is also in the cast. Concerning Driver, who is a good actor moreover and an actor with a predestined name, he has of course been aged, since Enzo Ferrari was already 69 years old in 1957, while the actor is only 40. He is also more taller and thinner than the Commendatore, so physically identification is not ideal. But it is especially in the interpretation of the character and the character that we will see if Driver is not on the wrong track.