With the release of “Rush” just one week away, bringing immense anticipation for the story of Lauda v.s Hunt on the big screen,it seems appropriate to set the mood and review what is in my opinion the best formula one film of all time. “Senna” is a feature legnth documentary following the career of inspirational racing driver Ayrton Senna, through the risk, devastation and, most importantly, achievements of a hero, not just for formula one fans, but for anyone who wants to break through social barriers and achieve more than anyone else thought was possible. Directed by Asif Kapadia, Senna supplies entertainment for everyone from die hard petrol heads, to every day film fans. This movie takes place in a period in formula one history that was dangerous, Properly dangerous, and at times this is shown graphically, which really makes a huge impact on the audience. It’s not often that I talk about just one shot when reviewing films, but if you have already seen this documentary you will understand. The death of Martin Donnelly during the 1990 Spanish GP is shown with one shot of his body, departed from his flipped car, in what can be described as a very unnatural position. This particular shot may be difficult to stomach, but certainly makes you respect the do or die drivers in the days before million dollar photo shoots and formula one drivers sanitization. To add to this, even though chances are you already know what is tragically going to happen to Ayrton, nothing can prepare even the most thick skinned audience member for the impact of the San Marino GP at Imola in 1994. This film not only shows the impact of Ayrton Senna’s death on the formula one grid, but also on the nation, and world, he inspired. Even the most devoted Alain Prost fan would find it a huge challenge not to leave the film feeling anything other than respect and admiration for the Brazilian icon. Kapadia unquestionably deserves further credit for portraying Ayrton as he was, rather than how many people want to remember him. Sad as it is, Senna was not perfect ; His recklessness and will to win is shown accurately and works well, alongside his obvious talent and desire to help his country overcome poverty, with the creation of a strong charity which still exists today. Ayrton remains, to this day, one of sport’s greatest ever icons and I think the realism of this documentary only makes me respect him more. “Senna” is a masterpiece plain and simple. Ayrton faced many challenges and difficulties throughout his short Formula One career (In which he won 3 World Championship titles) and nothing makes you understand, and admire him more than this film.
Senna- Final Score: 9/10
If you are not a Formula One fan, then I would still say there is a lot on offer here if you want inspiration to aim high and achieve your dreams. If you are a Formula One fan, and you have not yet seen this film, then make it top of your priorities, because you won’t regret it.
(Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senna_(film))