November 9th, 2022
MOVIE: LAMBORGHINI: THE MAN BEHIND THE LEGEND
STARRING: FRANK GRILLO, GABRIEL BYRNE, ROMANO REGGIANI, MIRA SORVINO
DIRECTED BY: BOBBY MORESCO
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
There’s plenty of intrigue in the world of automotives. In the lens of cinema it has been done through the competitive spirit, such as Rush, Ford v. Ferrari, and Days of Thunder, but behind it all is about innovation. The brilliance behind such innovation often can make a great story but it must be told with precision. That sense of precision is not happening in Bobby Moresco’s biopic about Ferruccio Lamborghini, the man that made the exquisite Italian automobile into his own empire, but instead a cookie-cutter telling that fails to give the founder any justice. Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend is a straightforward telling of a life and missing the personal nuances that could make his story worthy of the cinematic touch.
The struggle is that writer/director Bobby Moresco is telling a standard Wikipedia version of a biopic. He starts at the beginning, young Ferruccio Lamborghini (Romano Reggiani) returns home to Ferrara, Italy from WWII, with hopes to help his father with his vineyard, and soon build his own tractor company. The tractor idea is just a start, with the help of his longtime friend Vito Rossi (Leonardo Salerni), and support from his wife Clelia (Hannah van der Westhuysen), they begin to implement their own built engines, hoping to revolutionize the farming industry. Things then change when his wife dies giving birth to their child, altering Ferruccio’s plans, pushing him to pursue goals of his own high powered version of the automobile. It’s of course not long before he’s succeeding, creating the Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963, with hopes of competing against Ferrari to make the premiere vehicle.
As far as storytelling goes, Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend is as mundane as it comes, where everything is set in dark tones, with sets that are rarely visible. The film begins with an older Lamborghini (played by Frank Grillo) having a dream about racing Enzo Ferrari (played by Gabriel Byrne) which is a metaphor for the man’s own personal battle for being the top of the industry. The narrative pacing constantly pauses to go back to this dreamed up race, a heavy handed metaphor, but also hindered by Byrne not having a single line of dialogue to make an impact, and even then it still never pays off. On top of the clunky storytelling, both Reggiani and Grillo look nothing alike, where one naturally has an Italian accent, while the other has to act it out. Lamborghini is telling two separate versions of one man’s life and both are missing all the right parts to make a machine.
On top of the narrative problems, there’s undoubtedly a lack of real intrigue, as Lamborghini isn’t a controversial figure, nor a person complex enough to make a great biopic. Midway through the drama is between Ferruccio and Vito fighting over the same woman Anita (Chiara Primavesi) who eventually becomes Lamborghini’s second wife. And when the narrative moves along to the founder’s middle-aged life, with his wife now played by a barely existent Mira Sorvino, the drama grows out of his personal anxieties of being a success. It ultimately short changes Grillo who seems willing to give a better performance and a biopic that fails to seem worthy of representing a story of rags to riches.
If there are positives to mention it’s that the early recollections of Lamborghini’s life have an authentic, all Italian cast, rightfully honoring the life of a man that created something beautiful. That’s about the best one could say, where Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend isn’t good car porn, and too standard of a biopic to learn anything new. There might be a better movie for the Lamborghini story out there but this one runs out of gas fast. Take my advice and pump the breaks.
LAMBORGHINI: THE MAN BEHIND THE LEGEND IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS, ON DIGITAL, AND ON DEMAND FRIDAY NOVEMBER 18TH, 2022.
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady