Movie Critic - Senna (2010)
Even if you are not a racing fan, the name Ayrton Senna is familiar to you since the Brazilian driver was much more than just a F1 celebrity. His fascinating life, personality and career are still interesting and inspiring just as they were during his heydays and probably will be forever. That is why Asif Kapadia directed a 2010 award winning documentary “Senna“ and tried to show the world that Ayrton had a very complex personality, interesting life, great success and great tragedy. The box office success showed that “Senna“ is not just for racing fans but for all audience since the story is so compelling, honest and emotional it is beyond limits of motorsport.
It is always a challenge how to present a life of such a interesting character to the world, but the director choose a best way by making a movie with archive racetrack footage and home video clips provided by the Senna family. There is no retrospective interviews and no formal commentary and you don’t even notice that since the footage is so interesting and contemporary reports are more then enough for viewer to understand. The documentary starts in 1984 when Senna started racing in F1 and finishes with his tragic and untimely death in 1994.
During almost two and the half hours of intelligently directed footage and some of never before seen material, the viewer, in fact, is introduced to real Senna, as a person not as a celebrity racer. And during that two and the half hours, the viewer becomes friends with Senna watching him going trough good and bad times, trough fear and pain, fighting injustice in ranks of FIA and trying hard to achieve his goal.
There is also an insight in to Senna’s private life which reveals less known side of him and when you find out that Senna was devoted Christian, philanthropist and a modest person beside his wealth and international fame, you bond even more with his unusual and unique character. That is why it’s so hard to accept what is going to happened at the end of the documentary and you realize the true dimension of Ayrton Senna’s tragic demise.
Even when “Senna“ met a universal critical acclaim and won awards on various film festivals, there was a harsh criticism from Alain Prost who felt that he was represented badly as a Senna’s ruthless enemy and insisted that two drivers was rivals and their relationship was not violent but highly competitive. But Prost is not the only French man who is portrayed in less than perfect way since there is a lot of footage of Jean-Marie Balestre, the FIA president between 1985-93 who was controversial character often in conflict with the Senna. However, this criticism are not important since the “Senna“ is marvelous piece and easily the best racing documentary ever. For those who missed it in the theaters, whole movie is on YouTube and it is a must see for any and every motorsports fan.
Photo and video: youtube.com