Senna The Movie - A review by Matt Upton

When James Allen recently hosted a preview screening of the movie Senna, GPL were lucky enough to be invited along. Our plan was to write a review of the movie to let you know exactly what a treat you’re in for when the film hits cinemas this July. Fortunately for us however, a young man by the name of Matt Upton was also attending the screening, who has written articles for both Autosport, and the Motorsport News. So, rather than us write “It’s great, go and watch it”, here’s something a little more substantial.

But, seriously, go and watch it. It’s great!

Senna The Movie - A review by Matt Upton

“Ayrton Senna is considered to be one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time, scoring three world championships, 41 race victories and 65 pole positions. He was, and still is, adored by millions.

As you would expect, there have been several DVDs chronicling the life and career of this complex racer. So does this new movie simply entitled Senna offer anything different?

Well the answer is yes. The film tells the story of his life and career using original footage from Formula One Management’s archive, so there will be plenty of new sights for even the most hardcore Formula One or Senna fan. Clips from drivers’ briefings, for example, are something that you would never see on television.

The film is very fast paced, and begins at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, where Senna first made his mark driving for Toleman. It then moves quickly through the Lotus days, to the beginning of his intense rivalry with Alain Prost at McLaren in 1988 and carrying on to his epic drive in the ’91 Brazilian Grand Prix. Of course, the film ends with his tragic death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Interspersed throughout the film, are clips of a young Ayrton in his go-karting days.

To help the film along, voiceovers from commentators or contributors were used instead of the more traditional talking head interviews, which would have only interrupted the flow of the narrative.

Director Asif Kapadia must have had a nightmare choosing which parts of the Brazilian’s eventful career to leave out; he had to be incredibly disciplined.

But naturally this choice affects the picture painted of Senna. Although the film offers a great insight into Senna’s personality and career, at times it is dangerously close to portraying Senna as angelic; it could have been more balanced. But then again, it is called Senna!

Jean Marie-Balestre is the real villain in the whole Senna vs. Prost affair. “The only decision is my descision” is one of the comments that spring to mind. And the rivalry and animosity between the pair is perfectly portrayed on screen. Their exchange of glares in the McLaren garage is one of the best parts of the film.

As the film progresses, the viewer becomes more and more aware of the poignant conclusion that will inevitably be reached. It is difficult to re-watch the events at Imola in ‘94 without getting a lump in your throat.

Overall Senna is a work of art. It is visually stunning, and there is nothing like the sound of a Formula One car through cinema speakers, except for the real thing of course!

What’s more, the film has just as much to offer the mainstream audience as F1 fans. It has pretty much everything a normal feature film would have: emotion, drama and humour.

Senna is one of the best motor racing films ever made. It certainly beats Driven anyway!”

Matt Upton

As soon as we have any news on the DVD release of this movie, we will update the blog straight away. You will, of course, be able to buy the DVD from Grand Prix Legends.

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