I’ve always been a bit befuddled and amused by the growing acclaim around Adam Driver, but in this film (notwithstanding his almost perfect name for the titular role), I can see the attraction.

Driver plays Enzo Ferrari, the Italian auto manufacturing magnate who would certainly prefer to be known as a champion in the race car business as opposed to the car manufacturing industry.

The film is in 1957, which allows the set designers and costumers to revel in a period of classic Italian design. The cars look absolutely magnificent, with the traditional deep red racing color almost dripping from the cars.

Enzo is determined to win the gruelling Mille Miglia, a race of 1000 Roman miles (about 930 miles) through the Italian countryside. The race is notoriously deadly, for drivers and spectators. While trying to orchestrate that feat, Enzo is staving off ciorporate bankruptcy, as he is shifting an insufficient number of cars into consumer’s hands. Meanwhile on the personal front he is estranged from his wife, played admirably by Penélope Cruz, while also maintaining a home with his mistress and their illegitimate son.

Director Michael Mann has proven his admirable skill in such films as the magnificent successive quartet of Thief, Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans and Heat.

Here Mann’s obvious love for the cars and their races is evident in the absolutely thrilling and visceral racing scenes. A substantial supporting cast fleshes out the roles of company executives and race car drivers: Sarah Gadon, Gabriel Leone, Jack O’Connell, Shailene Woodley and Patrick Dempsey.

But we need to pay serious attention to the script, written by Troy Kennedy Martin (based on the 1991 biography journalist Brock Yates). Martin wrote the screenplay for the original The Italian Job, and here he does a fantastic job of balancing the intimate with the speedy.



Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.