(director: Asif Kapadia; screenwriter: Manish Pandey;
Sall/Chris King; music: Antonio Pinto;
cast: Alain Prost, Dr. Sid Watkins, Frank Williams, Jean-Marie
Balestre, Ayrton Senna; Runtime:
104; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: James Gay-Rees/Tim Bevan/Eric
"Though the film seemingly had a good ambassador for the sport, astounding racing footage and was well-presented, the subject matter never fully engaged me."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Asif Kapadia ("Far North"/"The Return"/"The Warrior") directs this ESPN film on the legendary Formula One driver from Brazil, Ayrton Senna, from his first pro season in 1984 until his untimely death at the age of 34 in a racing accident in 1994 at the San Marino Grand Prix. I went into the film knowing zilch about the sport and not caring a darn about it, and though the film seemingly had a good ambassador for the sport, astounding racing footage and was well-presented, the subject matter never fully engaged me.
The film consists of
interviews with the subject, his friends, his family,
drivers and others in the racing business. What gives
the pic its glitter are the TV clips, racing footage
from the archives, rare backstage footage of
controversial drivers' only meetings and home movies
of Senna's close knit Catholic family relaxing at home
or by the sea.
Senna, from a wealthy family and a
person of deep faith, is shown in his public rise from
obscurity to an international celebrity as a
self-promoting racing star who brought great publicity
to the Formula 1 sport, an organization he challenged
for their political maneuverings. We first see him
racing at the 1984 Monaco
Grand Prix. The last we see of him is in front of a
live television audience of some 300 million when his
car hit a wall at the track at the San Marino Grand Prix. No
reason was uncovered for the fatal accident, except
for the possibility that the steering wheel broke and
the car couldn't be controlled.
was loved by the Brazilian people for his courage,
good looks, patriotism and his charity work of
helping underprivileged children. He won three World Championships
in his decade of professional racing.
Alain Prost, a level-headed but calculating
pragmatist, was the fiery and very competitive
Senna's main rival. While Frenchman
Jean-Marie Balestre, the president of the
Fédération Internationale de Sport
Automobile, favored Prost, and
here is positioned as the film's possible villain as
he's shown always ruling against Senna.
REVIEWED ON 10/16/2011 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ