Film review: ‘Senna’
Wed, Sep 14, 2011 (4:39 p.m.)
Brazilian Ayrton Senna is considered one of the greatest racecar drivers in Formula One history, and Asif Kapadia’s documentary Senna makes sure you know it. Using a mix of official race broadcasts and archival footage, augmented by voiceover commentary from Senna’s family, friends and associates, Kapadia paints a fawning, one-dimensional portrait of Senna, who was killed in a racing accident in 1994. Although the movie is mostly well-constructed, it’s a somewhat dull parade of racing results and mild controversies until the inevitable tragic end, of little interest for those not already taken in by the sport. Kapadia touches briefly on what Senna meant to average Brazilians amid corruption and poverty, as well as a bitter feud between Senna and another driver, but the movie pulls back from any complex analysis in favor of straightforward hagiography. There’s no doubt Senna was a great driver, but this competently executed highlights reel doesn’t tell us much beyond that.