A documentary that may not be truly riveting as it is well made about a global phenomenon in Formula One Racing.
A well-paced, arguably heart-pounding and heartbreaking Senna shows how someone like Ayrton Senna made good on his natural talents and support from an upper-class family to move from go-karts to the racing circuit.
Director Asif Kapadia gets noticeable mileage from the self-effacing, charmingly handsome guy interspersing interviews with him as well as reporters, colleagues and his sister and mother in particular. The vantage point of the subject is important to his life on and off the track and how he responded to those close to him hurt during their pursuit to win titles.
The script produced by Marish Parley gets into the animosity and friendship developed with French driver Alain Prost starting from Senna's loss to him at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. Soon, though, his sheer talent on his way to three championships began that year with a win at Monaco. It stays on a chronological course as the driver seemed to overcome some of the messiness in part due to himself as he appeared to be a victim of the organization's top brass.
His tragic demise at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix stunned the country with some 300 million viewing the funeral and a three-day grieving period. Some may not see the same like-ability in such an amazing driver who never played second fiddle to the sport's politics. He used his career dynamism as a platform to increase opportunities for the young of his homeland and expressed much pride and inspiration from his spirituality as a devout Catholic.
This unambitious account may not be ideal for this medium with no new footage. Yet, Kapadia works diligently with his production crew, especially his editing staff to whittle down a huge amount of material into what is, for the most part, an insightful compilation (including archival home movies and unpublicized gatherings). The score by Antonio Pinto complements the personal and professional twists and turns via old television clips in putting you alongside an adulated maverick who passionately drove (all too briefly) not only for himself but for fairness.