Saturday, 10 March 2012

Film Review: SENNA (2010) - Revisited

Senna - poster Director: Asif Kapadia
Writer: Manish Pandey
Running Time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Documentary/Biography/Sport
UK Release Date: 3rd June 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 10th March 2012.


This is my second viewing of this remarkable documentary, I first saw it at the cinema back in July 2011. I must admit a second viewing hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for this great piece of work. I will admit to being a Formula 1 fan and I remember most of the events depicted here very well, but never saw them from Senna’s point of view before. It’s a story that has has great drama, passion and emotion and even non-F1 fans have given it high praise.

42-19687857 The film tells the story of the Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna from his early days in carting through his rise to fame and fortune in Formula 1 to his untimely death in an accident in 1994. We are told about the feud he had with fellow driver, Alain Prost, and the battles they had both on and off the track. How he dealt with the politics of the sport and how he became a huge star, giving hope to millions, back home in Brazil. We also see events from the point of view of his family, journalists and commentators and those that worked closely with him.

Senna - 3 I love the way this film was put together, there is no commentary and no interviews with people made after the fact. It’s all archive footage and interviews, mostly with Senna himself, that tells the story, much of it in his native Portuguese (with subtitles – you have been warned). As has been said many times before, real life can be so much better than fiction and this story has so much drama and emotion in it I firmly believe, in this case at least, it’s true. The section of the film concerning his death I remember watching events unfold live on TV very well. It was the blackest day in Formula 1 history and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. It is depicted with a lot of emotion and I will admit to the odd manly tear at that point.

Senna - 5 To many, Ayrton Senna was the greatest driver ever to race in Formula 1. I’ll admit that I wasn’t his greatest fan at the time; I wanted the British drivers to win (of course). However, always admired his talent and now I know more about him I am inclined to think that, yes, he was one of the greatest. This is a truly remarkable film and one I can highly recommend to both fans of the sport and those that don’t follow it alike. It’s a remarkable story and one I’m sure you will find yourself thinking about for a long time afterwards.

My Score: 9.1/10

IMDb Score: 8.6/10 (based on 14,373 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 115 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 96/100 (based on 12,051 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Jean-Marie Balestre: The best decision is my decision!

Senna - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:
Official Facebook:

1 comment:

danyulengelke said...

Great review!

We're linking to your article for Sports Documentaries Thursday at

Keep up the good work!