Made in: Great Britain, France
Language: Portuguese, English, French
Director: Asif Kapadia
Synopsis: This is a fast-paced documentary about the remarkable career of Brazilian Formula One racing legend, Ayrton Senna. The film begins in the late 70s, when a young Ayrton is invited to Europe to race. His passion is Go-Kart racing, where his talent is first discovered.
Soon, he joins the pulse-pounding world of Formula One, where he's able to further live out his lifelong dream. Despite the more highly politicized nature of this new adventure, Ayrton soon becomes a racing legend and national hero. Soft spoken, humble, and deeply religious, he manages to stay focused on his passion without succumbing to the temptations of his rockstar-like status.
The documentary also explores Senna's deep rivalry with French racing star Alain Prost, contrasting their philosophies and giving us a close-up look into the minds of both competitors.
Remarks: Director Asif Kapadia succeeds in making his main subject out to be a hero. He does a great job portraying Ayrton as a likable guy, and it's definitely a thrill to watch footage of his three F1 World Championships.
My knowledge of Formula One racing comes only from playing 80s video games (which means I know next to nothing about it other than it involves cars), but Senna addresses universal experiences and issues that all viewers can relate to.
Instead of starting from Ayrton's childhood, the documentary jumps right into his racing career. This might seem a little confusing at first, but as the film progresses it all makes sense.
Overall, this is a very well made, very well edited film. It's intense at times, and might give you a new respect and appreciation of the life of race car drivers.
By being so concise, it may not go deep enough into the nuts and bolts of racing for F1 enthusiasts. However, it's definitely a satisfying and sobering viewing experience.
(3 out of 4 stars)
Review written by: Joe Yang
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