Senna Movie; Not Good, But Great.

It is with great joy and sorrow that I bring you this review of Senna. After a year of build up and guarded, slow releases around the world Senna arrived in a town 50 miles from home and I duly took the trip to be the first of my motor-racing fanatical family to watch it.

The year of build up and rave reviews had be totally drawn in, as the miles passed by i got more and more excited. I began to put my foot harder to the fllor, extracting all the power from my Corsa’s little 1.4 engine hoping to get to the cinema even a few minutes quicker and be the first in line for a prime seat.

Rarely do I go to the cinema, but this was worth the ticket price, and the popcorn, and the giant gulp. I got my seat pretty quickly, and as the lights went down, and they began with the ‘pure driving pure racing’ quote I’d had my moneys’ worth already and with a dry throat sat back to enjoy.

Unfortunately the film skips over a lot of the detail of Senna’s life that I was hoping to learn, they mention fleetingly the charities he donated to before setting up his own foundation. The backdrop of chaotic and desperate Brazil is not played upon as much as it could’ve to produce a better contrast to his achievements globally.

As a piece of documentary making, the film is exquisite. With no narrator and carefully selected quotes from Senna, he tells his own story from beyond the grave, with only a little help from his friends.

Luckily the film saves this with some great onboard footage and clips from archives never seen, at a guess 70% of this film cannot be found online, I know because I’ve tried.

Racing fans will love the epic. The retelling of the tale, the greatest duel in history, Senna/Prost of 88-91 and if they like history and nostalgia this film will be at the top of many a Christmas list, until the last twenty minutes anyway.

Personally being a young age of 22, I can only find one comparison to the last twenty minutes of the film. Imagine following a 9/11 bomber through a training camp, building up a family man of strong religious beliefs and then watching his final moments into the side of a tower. The worlds blackest day, no one would want to see that surely, even his own family who thought he was righteous. Why then would F1 fans want to watch their blackest weekend played out in such a slow torturous pace?

As a fan I took no pleasure in this last part of the story, I know what happens. There were also shots of some huge crashes of the era, seeing Ratzenberger die was gobsmacking, or Martin Donnelly bent triple after his 1990 smash. These are images I would’ve hated viewing at the time, far removed from the makings of a ‘amazing film’.

This also seemed to cause disillusion upon the non-racing fans present [who were easy to spot given they had no sign of a logo on either there baseball cap or shirt]. Many began to visibly wonder why is F1 being celebrated in a film that shows its favourite son, among others, dying? And one, although admittedly young viewer questioning his father, “Why did they kill him off? He was cool.”

So lets not get this honest reviewer wrong, it does show the true nature of racing; dangerous and fast. It shows 1988-91 some of the best years of F1 ever, held both of these elements equally. But I like my history through rose tinted glass, that’s why I’m a fan and not Chairman of the FIA.

I feel I’m being harsh. I’ve read interviews stating that the first cut of this film was 5 hours long. Well I have some advice, throw this commercialised 1 ½ hour footnote at the cinema’s, but when you bring out the DVD, give me and the rest of the world those 5 hours, and a purer look at Senna.

So let’s not finish on a negative, this after all is a great film, showing truly that Ayrton; who may be one of the greatest drivers ever, was easily the greatest man to ever step on a Formula One grid.
I tweeted immediately afterwards saying “Ayrton Senna, Not quite god-like, but an Angel of the racetrack. Died doing what he did best, his destiny.”

My moment of the film comes at the very last. A golden nugget from a press conference. Fullerton,. The Question ‘Who has been your greatest rival, past or present?” You can bet your life’s savings this interview was setting up a follow on question about Alain Prost. Ayrton pauses, as I paraphrase from memory. “I would have to go back to the 70’s” “When I first came to Europe, Go Karting against Teryy Fullerton.” I could sense the atmosphere change there, not only in the cinema, but in the press conference, Ayrton was giving a real answer no one had expected. “No politics, no money, it was Pure Driving, Pure Racing.”

God Bless you Ayrton Senna, Angel of the Racetrack.

F1 may be the sport of glamour, playboys, millionaires and Champions but if you’ll excuse I’m going Karting, the sport of legends.


One Response to Senna Movie; Not Good, But Great.

  1. Brown Haired Warrior says:

    If you want a pure look at Senna, just look the races he drove.

    Damon Hill thinks Senna made a mistake at Imola. Personally I agree, the footage from Schumacher’s car suggests as much.

    Senna was a great driver, one of the best.

    I could care less about rinky-dinky psychological analysis, it’s the on track racing that is more important. I would rather more focus on actual racing and less on personality, even if it is Senna.

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