REVIEW: 'Senna'

REVIEW: 'Senna'

REVIEW: 'Senna', Flicks.co.nz

4 stars

Documentary on Brazilian Formula One legend Ayrton Senna. Screening nationwide, click for movie times and more info.


Senna is an entertaining, absorbing and inspiring documentary celebrating a champion’s talent. Compiled from archival material, mostly old video from interviews, news or thrilling race footage from a on-board cameras, the film celebrates supreme skill. Without a wild lifestyle to delve into, Ayrton Senna is portrayed as a man defined by what he achieved on the track.

Focussing on Senna’s victorious streak from the late ‘80s to the early ‘90s, the film immerses us in the rivalries and the high-speed excitement of the racing world. The antagonist (though the film is careful to redeem him) is fellow McClaren racer, Alain Prost. Despite some dodgy tactical moments as they clash – often literally – Senna is portrayed as the great sportsman, always striving for fairness or for the improvement of his sport.

Only very occasionally does the documentary try too hard, with a few too many glib generalisations about Senna being born to race, or a team doctor needlessly sanctifying his hero with the eye of hindsight. The specifics of Formula One rules and tactics are not explained for newbies, either. Nevertheless, some big name producers (Tim Bevan, Kevin Macdonald) are on board to craft a broadly appealing and moving tribute to a genuine star.

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