Journal: Drivers' Cinema: Senna (2010)

Drivers’ Cinema: Senna (2010)

By Andrew Schneider
September 12, 2013
7 comments

Most people have probably already seen Senna (2010), directed by Asif Kapadia, but I finally got around to watching it for the first time last week, and it completely exceeded my expectations. Watching this film is like visiting Paris for the first time: you realize that it really is as great as everyone says, and afterward, you want to convince everyone you know that they need to experience it too.

The film carries the audience through the high and low points of Ayrton Senna’s remarkable career, from his position with McClaren to his troubling time with William-Renault. In the film, Senna is portrayed as a driver who refused to become involved with the politics of the sport. He was focused and determined to win races regardless of circumstance.

Senna is loaded with original footage that demonstrates Senna’s aggressive driving technique. These parts of the film are incredible to watch, because Senna takes F1 driving to another level. The on-board camera captures outrageous speeds through tight chicanes into dead straights. The film also provides a glimpse into the evolution of the F1 car—in a short span of time the cars became more powerful and competitive, and aesthetically, the shape and frame of the cars were altered dramatically to provide more down force and to improve drivers safety. 

The movie places the audience in Ayrton Senna’s head so that we understand that Senna is for the sport. I connected with Senna as he won and lost. The movie covers meaningful moments of Senna’s life with heart and passion, and I really enjoyed the omniscient voiceovers that I heard throughout the movie throughout, including the commentary by some of the most influential people in Senna’s life, because they helped me get to know Senna even more. 

After experiencing this film (I can’t say “watching this film”, because it became much more than that), I have nothing but more respect for the world of Formula One.

Click here to pick up the DVD on Amazon.

Click here to buy the yellow poster shown below.

Image Sources: dbcovers.com, imagekind.com, theedgeoftheframe.com, russellfordmovies.blogspot.com, traileraddict.com, imagekind.com

Join the Conversation
Related

Leave a Reply

Jason Watt
Jason Watt

I agree with what a lot of you say about the biased portrayal but I have to say that one of my closest friends Chris was brought in to edit the film and was surprised to find out that the director and producers had concentrated so much on meeting the drivers still alive who remembered him (mostly because they were in awe and true fans of the sport) that they did not have any footage of Senna’s childhood or his early career at all to create a contextual narrative. He expressly requested that this situation be remedied before they could… Read more »

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

I was lucky enough to be treated to the premiere of this film (followed by a sushi dinner) by my petrolisti friends in Los Angeles. There was a Q and A forum with the director and producer, offering some interesting insight about how the film came about.
Although I immensely enjoyed the film, I also found it to be one-sided.
That’s OK, though; most of all, I just enjoyed soaking in the archival footage, taking me back to a great era in motorsport.

Jack Olsen
Jack Olsen

You have to see both the long and the short version.

Bradley Price
Bradley Price

I liked the Senna film overall and was moved to tears by it. However, it was very unfair–perhaps even demonizing– to Prost and completely whitewashed Senna’s own bad behavior. Notice they never mention him punching Eddie Irvine or any of the other utterly dickish and arrogant behavior he was well known for. I heard that they had to leave this stuff out in order to secure interviews with Ayrton’s family. The result is a majestic but one-sided film. It’s a pity because I think the complexity of his genius is what made him interesting.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Agreed. I worry that as a film classified as a documentary it did try to rewrite history. Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell who were as much part of the Senna story as Prost barely even got a mention. The biggest sin though was missing out on what most people would say was Senna’s greatest moment, Donnington 1993 when Senna overtook, six cars in one lap. The drivers he overtook included Prost and future world champions Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher!

RS Anthony
RS Anthony

Gotta agree with both of you. Senna was an entertaining film. But no documentary. In fact, it was so negative towards Prost that it made me appreciate his career even more. It’s just a shame this movie spawned hundreds of uneducated Senna fans who are willing to bash the achievements of any other driver, including even Fangio and Clark.

Arthur Skinner
Arthur Skinner

That was one of my favorite racing documentary films; which begs the point will Ron Howard’s RUSH portray the real story of James Hunt’s life or will it become over indulgent about the sexual side? It is after all Hollywood!