Senna (2010)

senna poster 2010 movie documentary
9.0 Overall Score

A great example of how to make a documentary

Some might not be interested in the subject

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Senna

Studio:  Midfield Films

Genre(s):  Documentary/Sports

Release Date(s):  October 7, 2010 (Japan)/June 3, 2011 (England)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Ayrton Senna da Silva

Ayrton Senna da Silva was on top of the world.  He was considered the greatest F1 driver at the time and potentially of all time when he died at the peak of his competitive years during a race.  This is the story of the racing champion and his career in F1 and the events surrounding his death.

Directed by Asif Kapadia, Senna is a documentary of the driver told through clips and interviews.  The film was well received and was nominated for numerous awards.

I went into Senna not knowing anything about Ayrton Senna other than he was an F1 driver and he was killed in an accident.  The documentary really isn’t about Senna’s life…it is about his racing career.  However, in watching the clips and interviews, you see that you can’t separate the two.  Senna’s life was driving and to him driving was life.


Senna poses with his car

Senna seemed to have a real passion for racing and this really comes off the screen.  He’s charming, well-spoken, and has a real love for his home of Brazil.  In spite of this, the movie does a nice job showing that he wasn’t perfect.  Questions about the controversial crash with Alain Prost which gave Senna the title are looked at with the idea that Senna might have caused the crash instead of being completely innocent.  It would be easier to paint Senna as this perfect man, but he sometimes comes off as the type of guy who probably would call fouls all the time when playing something like basketball.  I like his passion for the sport, but I don’t know that I’d like him as a person if I actually had met him.


The wreck that took Senna’s life

It is hard for people in the United States to wrap their minds around how big Senna’s death was.  This was a guy at the top of his sport, and even if it isn’t the biggest sport in the United States, F1 is huge around the world.  I come from a racing city (Indianapolis) and have spent time overseas where I have seen how fanatical people can be toward F1 racing…it really doesnt even compare in many aspects.  When Dale Earnhardt died in 2001, it was a similar death and still upsets NASCAR fans, but F1 is a worldwide event that is hard to match.

The film also looks great.  There is just a lot of good footage that tells the story and the tragic death.  Senna is one of those films that you can show wanna-be documentary makers as an example of how to make a good documentary.  It is organized and collected in a great way that does not feel clunky or just a standard formula.

Senna is a documentary about a sport that not everyone is familiar with but still is a completely accessible film.  It is thorough enough that I felt I got a good grasp about who Senna was and why he was important to the sport and in some cases, the world…Check out Senna, it is well worth a viewing.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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