there’s a lot going on in this documentary about the brazilian formula one driver of the 80s and 90s. he’s like a brazilian prefontaine, only he had a chance to fulfill his potential before passing away. in this way it’s an interesting film, too, because we see him rise and fall somewhat. toward the end of his career he begins to blame his car and he accuses another driver of using illegal equipment – these are the same things that he accuses prost of doing in the twilight of his career. the contrasts between prost and senna aren’t just about racing style, they’re also about how we live life. prost plays it by the numbers and ends his career with 4 championships. senna pushes the limits at all times and ends a shorter career with 3 championships. as someone who is intensely interested in how to live a good life these two and their racing styles are quite interesting to me.
overally it does a good job of rising above the confines of the documentary subgenre of great young fill-in-the-blank dies too young. it presents senna somewhat more organically than the documentaries that show the subject via archival footage and a lot of doting peers and commentators. we see senna has he rises to greatness. even the casual or non-racing fan can see his skill in some of the footage they present, so getting me to appreciate him on that level was an accomplishment of sorts. it would have been nice to have a little more explanation of some of the rules of f1 racing for those of us who know nothing about the sport, but overall most of the stuff was fairly well explained and decipherable for the average person.