Release year: 2010
Runtime: 106 minutes
HD available: Yes
Americans don’t care about Formula One racing, and here are just a few reasons why that makes no g*ddamned sense: It features the fastest, most technologically advanced cars in in the world. The drivers are some of the highest-paid, most highly skilled athletes in the world. And they are constantly surrounded by the hottest women in the world. But even if none of that interests you — what are you, Canadian? — you’ll still be enthralled by Senna, a 2010 documentary about Brazilian F1 legend Ayrton Senna.
The movie is entirely composed of archival footage, voiceovers, and race audio and video. This helps it move faster than most documentaries — pun sort of intended — and often makes you feel as though you’re there in the cockpit with Senna as he dominates F1 in the 1980s and 1990s. Central to the story is Senna’s epic rivalry with his onetime McLaren-Honda teammate Alain Prost; both men loved to win even more than they hated each other, which made for cutthroat driving. Over the course of the movie, Senna wins three F1 titles and is arguably robbed (by Prost and the suits who ran F1) of at least one more. But as his legend grows, so too does the sense of dread the movie creates. You’ll find yourself wishing Senna would stop racing and simply enjoy all the money, fame, and women. (Speaking of which, one of the best non-racing scenes features a smoking-hot Brazilian hostess throwing herself at Senna on live TV.)
Despite the on- and off-track drama, the movie never loses site of what it’s about: “pure driving, real racing,” as Senna says on more than one occasion. Although it doesn’t have explosions or one-liners, Senna is exciting and every bit a guy movie — even if it causes you to tear up at the end.