In the latest trailer for Ferrari, Michael Mann’s grand return to the big screen, Adam Driver’s Enzo Ferrari explains, in his pronounced Italian accent, that racing is “our deadly passion; our terrible joy.”
And indeed, much of the discussion from the movie’s fall film festival run, with stops in Venice and New York, has centered on the horrific accident in the third act. The new Ferrari trailer doesn’t spoil that, and I won’t either, but it does hint at the sequence’s brutality, with glimpses of the visceral way Mann shoots Ferrari’s ferocious contraptions, their engines not humming but growling. These are manmade monsters, and people like Enzo and his drivers cannot tame them, which leads to disaster.
As much as Ferrari is about cars going vroom and the buildup to a must-win auto race, it’s also the story of a man struggling to maintain an impossible balance in his life. As his wife and business partner Laura (Penélope Cruz) grieves the death of their son, his mistress Lina (Shailene Woodley) is raising another boy who may or may not take Ferrari’s name. The racing scenes feature some of the most virtuosic filmmaking, but the meat of the movie is in this marital drama.
Mann has created a web of grief and emotional entanglements that are as difficult to extract oneself from as a terrible car wreck. Yet throughout it all, Driver maintains a coolness as Enzo— hence the even tone in this voiceover.
Ferrari marks Mann’s first feature since 2015’s Blackhat, and affection for his work has only grown since then. Will the Heat fanatics become Ferrari-heads? We’ll find out when the movie opens at Christmas.