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|Index||114 reviews in total|
Having no definite release date in my country I've decided to import
the Bluray directly from Japan when it was released on Senna's
birthday, it turns out that it doesn't matter whether I watch it at
home first, I definitely wouldn't miss the chance to watch it on the
big screen again. The visual impact on the viewers cannot be
substituted unless you have a mini-cinema installed at your home. It is
as amazing as this!
For anyone following Formula 1, Senna is more than a household name, it's an equal sign! The story told won't be anything new to the fans yet for those who doesn't know the Man, you'll be in love with him by the end of it.
The movie itself captivate the viewers by the smooth flow of the movie, every moment is gripping, attention to details can be felt everywhere. Without spoiling the movie itself, personally I think some of the clips appeared in the end credit should be included in the movie itself as it helps to solidify the Man's character.
The reason for the vote from reaching a 10/10 is that the length of this documentary/movie is too short. You cannot get enough of the Man, as in real life, sadly...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Every once in a while, upon visiting the cinema, you experience a movie
like no other. A movie which leaves on the edge of your seat, leaving
you with the most extreme of emotions, ending with a fitting climax and
warranting a tissue or two. "Senna" does just that armed only with
hours of archive footage, a magnificent soundtrack and a compelling
tale of triumph and despair.
Admittedly, I'm obsessed with Formula 1, so I naturally made it my priority to go and see this film, a priority requiring me to go to a cinema on the far side of the country. I was aware of the major success that this movie was, but I needed to see it for myself to believe. I wasn't disappointed. It was absolutely incredible! The first 5 minutes warrant patience as the movie kicks into gear, but from there on in it is a piece of cinematic genius.
The array of unseen footage included in the film was a huge surprise for me, and is seriously useful for unraveling the enigma that is Ayrton Senna throughout the movie. It really focuses on his intense rivalry with Alain Prost throughout the movie. It was the defining rivalry of their era, as the greatest drivers of their generation went toe to toe for supremacy within the McLaren team. It also brings to light the unseen element of Senna, the devout Christian, the man who felt a deep humanitarian responsibility to his native people in Brazil. In the midst of an unfair regime and national poverty, Senna was a glimmer of hope to all.
When the clips of May 1 1994 were echoed around the cinema, I could fell the build-up of tears in my eyes, and as it showed Alain Prost holding Senna's helmet at the funeral, and the streets lined by thousands upon thousands upon thousands to try and get a glimpse of their godly sporting superstar, it was all too much. As the credits rolled, so did the outburst of emotion. Not only is this film recommendable for anybody with a burning passion for motor sport, but for anybody with the slightest bit of compassion, anybody who has a soul and anybody who possesses life. It is truly incredible....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As somebody who was 4 months short of my 9th birthday when I saw the
news update reporting Senna's death, I had been waiting years for a
movie to be made about his life. My growing years were spent regretting
that I didn't follow the great mans' career for longer, and so I made
up for lost time after his death accumulating as much information on
his F1 dynasty (and his life outside F1) as I could. It got to that
point where you feel as if you know/ knew somebody very well, despite
never meeting them.
When I heard that a movie was being made about Senna, I couldn't wait, but at the same time I worried that it may not do his life justice. Having seen the movie at last, it's definitely one to watch, even if you don't follow motorsport. The editing is sharp enough to keep even the most casual viewer interested, which is all the more impressive considering 'Senna' is made up entirely of archival footage.
The movie is an emotional roller-coaster from start to finish, however the only time I felt close to shedding tears was when he finally won the Brazilian Grand Prix. It's a pity they didn't mention it in the film, but only a few hundred metres after crossing the finish line, his gearbox conked out and the car coasted to a halt. That's how close it was. It was truly meant to be the day he won, and you would be hard pressed not to get caught up in the enormity of the moment, even if (like me) you had seen it plenty of times before.
To that final weekend at Imola, and although I had seen much of the footage a number of times before, for the first time I had the feeling of actually being there and living through the events taking place. Strangely, I found Ratzenberger's death more harrowing than Senna's. Perhaps it was because I have seen Senna's death and events before/ after it many times on TV or youtube, but for the first time, Ratzenberger is presented as more than just that other guy who was killed the day before Senna, and instead as an actual person, taking part in a sport he loved and doing the best he could in an inferior car.
I give this movie 9/10. It misses a mark for some minor details that would only interest a hardcore F1 buff like myself:
- Virtually no mention/ vox pops of Mansell (a great rival of Senna's on the circuit, he was Prosts' Ferrari team-mate in 1990 and in his autobiography called him "the lowest human being I have ever met". This would have given a more balanced view of Prost and shown that it was not just Senna and his fans who were disdainful of Prost. Berger (Senna's team-mate after Prost and a close friend) and Murray Walker (for so long the voice of Formula 1) would have been welcome inclusions as well.
- The dates are occasionally wrong (e.g, the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix was on the 24th of March and not the 21st, which incidentally was Ayrton's 31st birthday). Another incorrect detail is when on-board footage of Senna qualifying in the 1990 McLaren at Monaco is shown, while the caption claims it is from the 1988 race. Occasionally, the engine note doesn't match the in-car footage, and has clearly been lifted from other footage. These are tiny details, but considering the effort that went into the rest of the documentary, it's a shame they didn't clean those bits up.
- Surely time could have been found in the film to include Senna's battle with Mansell at Monaco in '92 and his masterful wet weather display at Donington in '93? And although footage of Senna racing to the aid of Comas's wrecked Ligier features in the end credits, it would have been great to have included it in the actual feature itself, linking it with Donnelly's accident to emphasize the concern Ayrton had for the welfare of the other drivers.
Those are my only reasons for not giving this film a perfect 10, and they are only minor reasons admittedly. I am already looking forward to seeing this movie again. If you haven't seen 'Senna' yet, watch it as soon as you get the chance. One of those inspirational films that stays in your head after you see it, leaves an impact, and then leaves an even bigger impact when you remember that everything you saw really did happen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have just come back from the cinema, which had, at a rough estimate,
150 people watching this film. This is quite amazing, since the last
time I shared that screen with so many people was the Star Trek reboot
in the first week after opening! For a documentary, this seems to be
First of all, a disclaimer - I'm a died-in-the-wool petrolhead, and have been since before Senna entered F1. It was, therefore, with some trepidation that I went to see this documentary, because I wondered what liberties might have been taken with history in order to paint a picture of Senna, and, by implication, the sport. I'm pleased to say that I was not disappointed - this film captured many of my memories of the time very well.
My biggest criticism is that the film is too short - a few more minutes would have painted a different picture of Senna's relationship with other drivers. Sure, the focus on the Senna/Prost battle is understandable, but some time spent showing how they reconciled after Prost resigned would have been nice. Also, the fact that Senna's humanity, amply demonstrated with regard to the people of his country, could have been underlined with regard to his fellow drivers by giving some time to the (briefly seen in the end credits) incident where he stopped his car on the track and ran back to assist Eric Comas following an accident at Spa in 1992.
Perhaps the film is a little harsh on Alain Prost, but, as I wrote earlier, this documentary captures my memories well. Prost was a difficult driver to like, because he was always so calculating (I have the same opinion of Michael Schumacher - I don't want cold-blooded winners, I want ones where I am not sure what is going to happen), but was he really as bad as painted here? I'm not sure.
This film is very accessible - there were a lot of people in the cinema who were probably not alive when Senna died, and they seemed to be as affected by the drama as I was. The accidents that took the lives of Ratzenberger and Senna in the same weekend are truly horrifying on the big screen - and I remember seeing them when they happened - and I was not the only one dabbing at my eyes after each one.
To cut a long story short - I hope the DVD has a "director's cut", with a lot more about a man who could have done so much had he lived longer.
As a very keen motor racing fan who saw most of A. Senna's F1 races,
(including the race where his car crashed at Imola as a result of a
serious mechanical failure), I thought the film was very understated
and did not do sufficient justice to one of the most outstanding motor
racing drivers of the post WW2 era.
I have seen the DVD with the narrated commentary by the makers of the film. It explains why they chose the scenes they did and offers a great deal of explanation of events but none of this information was included in the film. It assumed audiences already knew quite a bit about this man.
The problems with the movie included:
1. Very minimal narration which left audiences trying to grasp what was really happening at times and lost the opportunity to tell the audience a much richer and more complete story.
2. An appearance in the film that he jumped from go-cart racing straight into F1. No one does that and he didn't either. He was driving Formula Fords and then Formula 3 cars successfully over a period of 3 years before progressing to F1.
2. Very, very poor descriptions of the man's amazing results in just 10 full years in F1 including 4 of those years in second rate cars. (see below).
3. Poor reflections of just how he managed - by pure talent - to consistently out drive his competitors so convincingly with only minimal evidence of just how talented he was. There was no reason why the film should have been limited to only 100 minutes when another 10 minutes of footage could have shown and added so much more.
4. Insufficient descriptions of just how committed he was to the safety and well being of other drivers. During the end credits you see a film of a driver stop and jump out of his car during practice and put his own life in danger to sprint back down the track (in the face of other cars) to the aid of another driver that had crashed and was sitting injured in his car across the track. This should have been part of the movie, explained and highlighted because it showed what a magnificent human being that driver was. It was Senna of course. They don't make them like that anymore - at least not in F1.
5. There were massive investigations following the Senna crash at Imola, not to mention court cases but none of this was mentioned in the film. It was clearly established that a major mechanical failure in the car (steering column) had caused the crash leaving Senna a passenger in a car racing at 330 km per hour. None of this was covered in the film (other than one minor speculative comment) leaving audiences (who did not know) wondering what had really gone wrong.
I could go on but I won't. The film underwhelmed me and is found wanting. It could have been just so much better and so much more emotional and heart breaking. A great deal of improvement could have been made with much more factual narration which would not have even added to run time.
The man's achievements at death were amazing but these were never shown to the audience. Here they are and the list is indicative of what a great race driver and champion this guy was:
A. Senna held and in most of cases below still holds the following Formula One records:
- Most wins leading the entire race... 19
- Most consecutive pole positions... 8 consecutive pole positions
- Most consecutive starts from front row... 24
- Most consecutive wins at the same Grand Prix... 5 wins in a row at the Monaco Grand Prix (1989 Monaco Grand Prix1993 Monaco Grand Prix)
- Most consecutive pole positions at the same Grand Prix... 7 pole positions in a row at the San Marino Grand Prix (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)
- Most pole positions at the same Grand Prix... 8 pole positions at the San Marino Grand Prix (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994)
- Starts from front row in every race of a season... 16 out of 16 front row starts in 1989
- Most seasons leading the pole-position statistics... 6 (in 1985,1986, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991)
A. Senna also held the following records at the time of his death:
- Most pole positions... 65
- Most laps led ...2,982
-Longest distance led... 13,672 km
- Most GPs led... 86
- Most Doubles (pole and win, same GP race)... 29
- Most Front Row starts... 87
- Youngest triple world champion... 31 years,227 days
- Youngest driver to score a Grand Slam (pole, win, fastest lap, led every lap) ...25 years, 31 days
This film's style is as sublime as its protagonist, but that perhaps is
The film is more a piece of reverence for a man who attempted and accomplished, sublime performance, perhaps even something greater. This is where the director wants our minds, and he's not wrong for that, but then the film is more about him and his idea, than about Senna.
I read up on Senna after seeing the film and while nothing shockingly contradictory was revealed, some of the human nuances that would have rounded out his character were left out of this narrative. Instead, all the story's conflict is external, and he, the victim.
In truth, he did bring many problems on himself. He was a fierce competitor. There is no blame here, but the film just didn't show a flaw in the man, which we all know is unrealistic.
It also romanticized the idea that because he was Brazilian, he had hardships making his way in the European-centric formula 1 world. Brazil, in fact, had many great drivers before Senna. Therefore, it was more convenient to twist things this way to the director's fantasy of life, than painting a more complex and flawed man in Senna.
Without these issues, I would have voted 10.
Still, beautiful film, beautiful human being.
A must see for formula 1 and motor-sport fans. Formula 1 used to be
different from what we see today and, in addition to this unique
insight into Ayrton's life, it also brings a lot of F1's skeletons out
of the closet.
I have never watched a documentary so moving. Right from the brilliant on-board footage of the racing cars to very real narrative by Ayrton himself.
Brilliant work. The entire film is made with archived footage, most of which is very rare. The filmmakers do a great job of bringing some of the key characters in F1, and in Ayrton's personal life to the forefront.
For me, this was an extremely emotional film. At the age of 10, Senna
was my idol, and I was fortunate enough to be there to see him take his
final victory. Reliving those moments on the big screen was a truly
exhilarating (and tear-jerking) experience.
I have consumed volumes of Senna-related material over the years, so to say that this film adds something substantive means a lot. Of course, the stories themselves won't be new to a lot of motor racing fans, but there is something delicious and comforting in the retelling of a beautiful fable. And the film makers are to be congratulated for paring a complex story down to its dramatic essentials, while maintaining the necessary context and without reducing it to a Hollywood narrative. They certainly did a much better job of conveying what Senna was to my girlfriend than I could ever do. The fact that she thoroughly enjoyed the film - and came out of it with a good understanding of many of the nuances of Senna's life - despite being ardently anti-racing speaks volumes.
If I have any criticism, it is the lack of audio/visual sync up in many of the onboard shots. And in one shot there are audible gear changes when Senna is supposedly stuck in sixth gear. For the casual viewer these count for little, but for a racing connoisseur these mistakes are like nails on a chalkboard. It's hard to believe that the film was previewed by anyone with a deep understanding of motor sport. One could also criticize the film for telling only one side of a complex history (Senna's), but given the film's scope that is no fault at all in my opinion.
All in all, this is a beautiful documentary. It is well-paced, with a perfect running time and wonderful score. I highly recommend it, to racing fans and film fans alike.
The finest film I've ever seen about Formula One, let alone about the
genius of Ayrton.
Riveting from the first, this makes you feel like you know the man - both the good and the bad. You see him with his family and his fellow drivers. you hear him talk about what drives him, and what makes him go that one step further than anyone else was brave enough (or good enough?) to take.
The staggering events of the fateful weekend are shown simply and quietly. A fitting way to show a loss that affected millions around the world.
Watch it. It's magnificent, beautiful, painful, and inspiring.
I knew absolutely nothing about Grand Prix racing when I went to see
this. But it blew me away. It was absolutely brilliant, probably the
best film of the year so far. And these are my reasons why.
First of all, the way it was made was amazing. The film has no new footage at all; it is entirely made up of 100% archive material. It is amazing how they pulled off such a feat, and it really added to the film's unique feel. You're essentially seeing everything described in the documentary as it happened. It really does add a lot of emotion to it. The ending is extremely powerful. It shows Senna's crash, and what follows is a really emotional montage of the distress and sorrow it caused in Brazil. I have to admit, I was holding back tears.
Overall, this was a truly brilliant film, and probably the best of the year hands down. I give it 9/10.
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