Director: Asif Kapadia
In my movie odyssey I am trying to sample as many different types of films as possible. Along with the horror genre, documentaries were an area I had largely avoided. Why? I do not know, particularly when there are documentaries like Senna to be seen. I am not one for car racing, and really know next to nothing about cars; Kapadia's Senna had me invested in the races, immersing me in the world of racing during the 80s and 90s.
The film is essentially a character study of Ayrton Senna, considered by many in car racing as one of the best drivers ever, possessing a natural ability that he worked hard to maintain. In Kapadia's film Ayrton Senna is presented as a wonderfully complex person: as serious about his Catholicism as he was about his racing, a proud Brazilian at a time when many were not, a fan of the ladies, and a fierce competitor. His rivalry with Alain Prost is a highlight of the film, though it is not make it entirely clear how there relationship changed over the years (Prost is now a patron of Senna's charity). I would also have liked just a little more insight into just how popular Senna was in Brazil. However, these are minor quibbles.
If you don't know how Senna's career played out, don't read anything about him, but just go and see the film. I did know, but when the end of the film occurred, I felt shock, sadness and was deeply moved. This would be great in a double bill with Ron Howard's Rush, another film that works for car racing novices like myself.