To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend is a semi-biographical film written and directed by Bobby Moresco (Bent). Featuring Romano Reggiani, Francesca Tizzano, Matteo Leoni, Hannah van der Westhuysen, Fortunato Cerlino, Giorgio Cantarini, Eliana Jones, Mira Sorvino, Gabriel Byrne, and Frank Grillo the film is based on the 2016 biography Ferruccio Lamborghini: La Storia Ufficiale by Tonino Lamborghini. The story follows Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian war mechanic, farmer, and entrepreneur who goes from selling tractors to designing and building one of the most famous luxury cars known to man.
In 1992, at the Lamborghini Vineyard in Umbria, Italy Ferruccio Lamborghini (Frank Grillo) sits at his desk and looks at two model cars. One a red Ferrari and the other a blue Lamborghini. He then has a vision of racing Enzo Ferrari (Gabriel Byrne). In 1946, a younger Ferruccio (Romano Reggiani) and his friend Matteo (Matteo Leoni) return home to Cento, Italy after fighting in WWII. Ferruccio heads to a café to see if his girlfriend Clelia (Hannah van der Westhuysen) is still waiting for him. He sets a ring on her table and they embrace.
Afterward, they head to his family’s farm where Ferruccio reunites with his three younger brothers and father Antonio (Fortunato Cerlino). Clelia helps his mother make food for the boys as Ferruccio continues to work in the garden with his father. He tells his father of his idea to make smaller cheaper tractors and Antonio tells him to focus on being a farmer. Ferruccio says he does not want to be a farmer and that in the war he was a mechanic. He goes on to say that the world is changing and he wants the family name to live on.
Biographical films are some of the most interesting stories that can be told on the silver screen. This is usually because the truth is stranger than fiction and many people live wildly interesting lives. Even so, most screenwriters still embellish a little to make the story even more interesting. Whether it be adding or combining characters, compressing the amount of time in which events take place, or flat-out making something up that works better for the film they are trying to create. I feel Bobby Moresco does a great job of telling the origin of Ferruccio Lamborghini but I feel he should have added more. Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend runs about an hour and a half and most biopics tend to be closer to the 2-hour mark if not longer. Maybe the COVID-19 Pandemic affected shooting schedules as it did with many other films shot these past couple years.
It would’ve been nice if Moresco could have added more on the front end exploring Lamborghini’s time as a mechanic during WWII or on the back end once he started selling luxury cars. Instead, the film abruptly wraps things up with Ferruccio selling his company. So the viewer never gets to see the height of the Lamborghini brand or why the company is now widely known for cars and not tractors, air conditioning, or heating. The vision of Ferruccio racing Enzo Ferrari that is shown throughout the picture also feels out of place. It sets the viewer up to believe that the two businessmen would have a close rivalry throughout the story with Ferruccio trying his best to beat Enzo, but we don’t really get to see it. They only have a few interactions with only one being an actual conversation. Their conflict doesn’t add much as Ferruccio could have come to design his own car without ever meeting Enzo.
The cinematography is pretty good, especially the scenes that take place on the family farm and vineyard. The movie feels more real and lived in when we start with the younger cast who are mostly Italian. Romano Reggiani is a talented actor and the standout of the picture. He leads the first half of the story and gives us insight into what drives Ferruccio. Most people can empathize with his quest for greatness being worth the risk of failure. I think putting Reggiani in makeup may have been a better choice for the older Ferruccio because although Frank Grillo is Italian, his accent sounds more New York than Romano Reggiani’s. That being said it is Grillo’s star power that the studio needs to draw a crowd to the theater which is understandable in this theatrical climate.
While the cast is exceptional and the story is interesting, this project may have worked better as a limited series. At minimum the movie could’ve used another 30 minutes to flesh out the second half. I give Lamborghini: The Man Behind the Legend a Solid 6.4/10. There is much more about Ferruccio Lamborghini’s life, family, and business that I wish were explored.