We all know the tragic story of Aryton Senna. But growing up as a child when he was at his prime of his career I really don’t have much recollection of the man. Only that he was a great Formula One driver. I am personally not that big a fan of F1, but Senna manages to capture and convey to an outsider what is there to love of the sport, from the stakes to the emotions it is absolutely enthralling and could quite well be my film of the year.
The documentary follows the life of Senna entirely through a wealth of intimate stock footage and home videos; It never cuts away, but overlaps audio from interviews with close aids, setting context for what we are viewing on screen, Senna’s emotions visibly painted across his face. From his youth as a prodigal go kart racer to his meteoric rise in the ranks of Formula One racing. It provides incredible insight in to the man and how he was clearly such a unique person. Throughout his career there is conflict and even though he is a remarkable driver, he is in many ways the underdog. We follow a hero’s journey as he falls from his peak and climbs back up again, gaining the respect of his peers and rivals.
Senna had me on the edge of my seat every time he was at the start of a race, the filmmaking perfectly manages to capture the tension of what was at stake and what every win meant. The character of Senna is, as we come to learn, incredibly multifaceted and somewhat of an alien in this political sports world.
In many ways it is about overcoming the boundaries that one must face, but thought provoking about how far one is willing to go to push those limits to achieve greater things.
Senna works on every level, it’s character is inspiring, it has conflict, triumphs, conveys a palpable wealth of knowledge and leaves one asking questions at the end of it’s values.
As I said I didn’t have much recollection of the man when growing up as I was too young. After seeing Senna I realise that I missed out on something great. But this documentary seemingly captures the very essence of the man and transports the viewer back to relive his achievements. I cannot recommend this film enough and it is genuinely one of the best documentaries that I have seen.
Reviewer: Dexter Kong
Rated: Exempt from Classification
Formats: DVD & Blu-Ray
Release Date: 10th October, 2011
Director: Asif Kapadia