Thursday 6th February 2014

Director: Asif Kapadia
Year: 2010
Stars: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Ron Dennis, Frank Williams (as themselves)

I'm not a particularly big Formula 1 racing fan. I know all the names, and a lot of the history, because certain members of my family are. That's not why I wanted to watch this documentary though. The reviews had been very positive, and I was intrigued to learn more about an event that happened when I was really quite young.

Senna didn't disappoint. Now, I suspect that if you were a die-hard F1 fan back at the time that this was playing out, you'd know the majority of this already, and there woudn't be a lot you'd miss by not watching this. But the movie isn't really about racing at all. It's about one man's life, and everything that goes with that. The movie does a good job of not making Senna a martyr - he clearly wasn't, and the documentary is obviously trying to portray this.

As good as Senna is, it's an odd tale. That's not really the filmmakers fault - this is, after all, a documentary, so they can't change history. But considering all that has come before (the fights, the reckless driving, the desire to succeed at all costs), the circumstances surrounding Senna's death (I can't imagine I'm giving away the ending here) seem a bit, well, flat. If this was a fiction, you would be wondering why the hell they chose to end it that way.

As it is, you wonder if the filmmakers have just failed to get across whatever point they were trying to make. Or if there never really was a point to make - short of "racing's a bit dangerous, isn't it?" An intriguing movie, and a well told story. If a slightly bizarre one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

No comments:

About Me

My photo
I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.