Race for Glory: Audi vs. Lancia (2024)

Race for Glory: Audi vs. Lancia Review

Race for Glory: Audi vs. Lancia

Racing movies are not usually known for their mellow vibe, but that’s the mood of “Race for Glory: Audi vs. Lancia.” Loosely based on the rivalry between the two car companies during the 1983 World Rally Championship, this film by director Stefano Mordini is a docudrama type of production, done on what appears to have been a limited budget at least compared to Michael Mann’s epic “Ferrari,” which unfortunately for these filmmakers preceded it in the marketplace, or “Rush” or “Ford v Ferrari,” also released around the same time. It has committed performances and interesting details going for it, but it never quite figures out how to lock the audience into whatever peculiar groove its storytellers have apparently decided to settle into.

Take the scene where Fiorio goes looking for retired driver turned beekeeper Walter Röhrl (Volker Bruch) to get him on Team Lancia. It’s a beautiful example of how to tell audiences what’s happening without simply telling them what’s happening. The two have an entire conversation without Fiorio specifically asking him to come out of retirement and join the team, even though they (and we) know that’s the real point of the exchange. But after that, we never get a sense of whether the quietly flamboyant Röhrl (portrayed as sort  of a 1970s Robert Redford hotshot) is worth the sum total of his maddening eccentricities (such as pausing mid-race to have a relaxed, lengthy conversation with a farmer). Nor do we get any insight into other odd aspects of his method, such as his refusal to participate in half of the rallies or his reasons for doing one rally but not another.

Jane McCoy (Katie Clarkson-Hill), a nutritionist hired by Fiorio to keep his team healthy, is treated even more glancingly. We never get a firm idea of her character at all, beyond the tragic weight of her driver father’s death in a race twenty years earlier. It’s nice that there’s no mandatory, forgettable love story between her and Fiorio, but there’s also nothing to replace it narratively. Fiorio hires Jane on impulse after he goes to a party feeling a bit under the weather, randomly meets her there, and takes her advice to order grog from the bartender. But we don’t get a sense of why he had such a powerful feeling about her suitability based on that one incident, much less what she brings to the team that any other qualified hire couldn’t have provided. Same with Röhrl and his racing, strangely: for all the tight closeups of his hyper-focused eyes while he’s driving, there’s no insight into what, precisely, he does behind the wheel that’s so special that it makes up for prima donna behavior that complicates Team Lancia’s logistics and staffing and costs them precious minutes.

Scamarcio’s performance as Fiorio is magnetic enough to carry the audience through to the end, and the integration of real-life documentary and TV news footage and re-creations is refreshingly low fuss. The movie deserves credit for deciding not to lean too hard on what most other racing films do, and go at certain core elements obliquely or just omit them. But if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to replace the familiar stuff with something else that’s just as compelling but more daring. The movie probably needed to be a lot artier and more challenging or a lot more conventional to stand out. As is, it never rises above the level of a good try.

Watch Race for Glory: Audi vs. Lancia For Free On Gomovies.

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