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★★★★

Original Review for Live At Your Local

Senna is an enthralling and extremely moving portrait of the three-time Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna. Using archive footage, and with the cooperation of Senna’s family in Brazil, it reconstructs the racing driver’s illustrious career.

Senna’s success reached its height at Honda-McClaren, and it’s his rivalry with teammate Alain Prost, and combustible run-ins with F1 chief Jean-Marie Balestre, that provide most of the drama. We are also given a glimpse at his life back in Brazil, where Senna’s burgeoning celebrity led to mass adulation.

Director Asif Kapadia opts for a lack of narration or talking heads, allowing well-selected footage to tell its own story. In-car footage is dramatic and intense, particularly on the big screen, but adds an unnerving proximity to Senna’s final moments. Prescient comments, exemplified by Prost’s ‘he thinks that he can’t kill himself’, add further pathos to the tragic ending.

Senna successfully presents the various traits of a racing legend – enthusiasm, humility, proud patriotism, intense Christian faith and a passion for racing. His life was tragically short – and this documentary does an excellent job of recreating the inherent drama and tragedy of his remarkable story.

Steve Says Kanpai Extra!

I really enjoyed Senna, more so than expected. Ayrton Senna’s life was riveting, and was a story begging to be told. The tragedy is undoubtedly present, but there is also a lot more – the gripping rivalry with Alain Prost, the fiery temper – witnessed in some remarkable pre-race drivers meeting footage – and the playboy lifestyle outside of the sport. Watching Senna reminded me of when I used to be into Formula One – going down to Silverstone for Saturday qualifying, and watching the season when Schumacher brought Damon Hill off the tracks on the last day of the season to win the F1 crown. Yet despite my previous knowledge of the sport (I have since drifted away from it, and never watch these days), you do not have to be a car fanatic to get a lot out of what is essentially a human story about passion, desire and ultimate tragedy. I would definitely recommend Senna to all, F1 fan or not.

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