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Senna

Year: 2010
Studio: Universal
Director: Asif Kapadia
Writer: Manish Padey
Cast: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost

Just like I'd heard about Moneyball and baseball, I'd heard you didn't need to be a racing fan to enjoy this movie – and I was glad, as I find car racing kind of on a par with watching a dog lick his own balls for three hours.

Instead it's a documentary about the titanic talents and egos in the racing world of the 80s and 90s and the writer and director have amassed a story complete with an underdog hero, emperor wearing no clothes and a court full of fools who lead with their love of fame.

I had no problem with the drama or the construction of the film (like all documentaries, it's still someone's version of events no matter how objective the standpoint), but I did get the feeling once or twice that someone had taken the very best footage of Senna and the very worst of his team-mate and eventual nemesis Alain Prost to make them seem like the epitome of good and evil.

Senna is a young, good looking, idealistic man who loves racing and has no stomach for the politicking of international formula one. He quickly rises to the top of the heap to challenge the world leader, Frenchman Prost, who happens to be his teammate at McLaren.

But Senna only looked in one direction – winning no matter who else was on the track. Prost is shown as a whiny, bad loser and Senna the decent kid who only wants to race but can barely understand all the ego jostling and jealousy around him.

Aside from that perspective it's a fairly straight retelling of the formative events and people in Senna's life and untimely death. If you can believe the film, he was voicing concerns about the safety of the new design he was driving when he crashed during trials in 1994 and sustained head injuries that killed him.

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