LAMBORGHINI: THE MAN BEHIND THE LEGEND -- A Biopic With a Few Directorial Tricks That Didn't Work
Review by Dan Skip Allen
Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend is another origin story of a businessman who created an empire, but his drive to succeed got him into trouble with his family and his rivals. I'll be honest — I didn't know much about the man behind the great car manufacturer, Ferruccio Lamborghini (Frank Grillo), but when I finished the film, I understood who he was and his drive to succeed against all odds. He was a man who wanted to succeed despite the cost to those around him.
Ferruccio Lamborghini as a young man, was a farmer like his father. He longed for more, though. He had a lot of ideas in his mind regarding motors and building things people needed. With this ability to tinker, he got a friend to help him develop a new kind of tractor. This tractor is lighter and sturdier and can go a lot further on a tank of gas, revolutionizing farming. They get rich on this device, but this isn't enough for him. He wants more and tries to compete with Enzo Ferrari (Gabriel Byrne) by creating a better and faster race car.
Like many successful men, Lamborghini neglects his family and loved ones. He feels his success allows him to do what he wants regarding his private life. He sleeps around and ignores his son and current wife after his first wife, whom he loved dearly, died in childbirth. His rivalry with Ferrari clouds his judgment and makes him push everybody away, even his friends. This man has tunnel vision regarding his drive to be better than everybody he believes is in his way. This is a dangerous lifestyle if it doesn't succeed.
The director chooses to go into a few different aspects of this movie to make it not a standard biopic. The first is a framing device of a race between the two car magnet owners in their respective cars to prove who is the best. The other two are that the film is split into three segments depicting the life of Lamborghini and his friends and family. Set in the '60s in Italy and a couple of decades later. These directorial and script tricks are typically useful in movies. This time they were for not. This movie just didn't work all the way around.
Frank Grillo lucked into acting when he was offered to be the trainer on Warrior. The director liked him so much that they offered him one of the film's supporting roles as an MMA trainer. This led to bigger and better roles in the MCU as Crossbones. He is usually good as an occasional hitman or stunt driver, but he seemed out of place in this role. He just didn't come across right to me as this farmer-turned-car manufacturer. His line delivery is slow and clunky, and out of depth. It's sad because I wanted to see him in a starring role like this.
As a biopic, it just doesn't work, either. The movie's length seems like a red flag that something is wrong with this production. It was a very short film considering everything the filmmakers tried to cram into it. The script and acting from all seem a bit dumbed down to me. It looked like this movie was meant to be something bigger but ended up being a badly edited-down version of what they initially wanted it to be: an engaging story about a man who had nothing and made himself into something.
Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend isn't a good biopic, and it's not a good film in general. The director Robert Moresco tried a few tricks with the narrative that didn't work in the end. Grill as a leading man was a mistake as well. This didn't seem like the version of the movie that was supposed to come out. It is a shadow of what it should have been. The length and all the editing are disguising something that wasn't on the screen, but I can't put my finger on it. Just skip this biopic and watch some other fall films instead.
Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend hits theaters and VOD on November 18.
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