Tuesday, 7 June 2011

[Review] Senna

My fear for this documentary is that it's only going to attract Formula 1 fans, and this just shouldn't be the case. From the beginning of this informative and emotional story focusing around the unjust short life of Ayrton Senna, we're taken through his trials and tribulations. We see his astonishing highs and his heartbreaking lows up until the end of his time. The feature length documentary is not only brilliantly edited together to capture emotion so hard to conjure up in a specialist film, but it uses footage that's interesting and probably not seen by fans and the general public, making it all together a superb piece of film-making.

Director Asif Kapadia seems to have put his heart and soul into this. His admiration for Senna is reflected in what occurs throughout the film. You're not taken from scene to scene, being fed regurgitated information heard several times before, but are shown a heartfelt life story with archival footage creating intense emotion. The range is taken from home videos to news footage and interviews from all around the world truly showing the effect this man had over Brazil and the Formula 1 following.

I have to admit, I take a vague interest in, what looks like to me, an expensive car race, but Senna was someone I knew very little about. After watching this documentary, you can't help but feel a total loss. I understand a documentary is made to effect you in a certain way, but the way his life is revealed to you, the courage you see him build and the determination he has just brings you to a stand still as the film ends. You witness his beginning and then dramatic death only to feel an emptiness as the film slowly begins to roll the credits and finish. This is how a feature-length documentary should be made.

The uncertainty of filling a two hour space with clips of a good car racer did cross my mind. But once it starts your eyes are transfixed on the screen. There are points of rage you feel for him, a need for celebration and a cause for mourning. What's most hurtful is the fact that this is his life you're watching. You can't shy away thinking it's all fake. You are watching a world famous man's life rise and fall in front of you.

The most fitting word for this film I can think of is "dedicated". The film is dedicated to Senna's life, dedicated to making a perfect viewing film, and Senna himself was dedicated to the world of racing. All three are met perfectly, paying a justified tribute to him, giving his fans a world-class reminder of who he was, and bringing a brand new respect for his life to new people.

What a cheeky man:


  1. David, Portsmouth8 June 2011 at 22:10

    A concise clear review, and echos many points I was thinking about the film. I saw Senna tonight, and at first thought it was a film only suitable for an F1 fan, however after the first 10-15mins of introduction, the focus was much more about the character and charisma of Senna. And even though you know the ending, you heart rate does increase as if you're willing him not to take part in the San Marino Grand Prix.

  2. Thanks so much for the kind words x