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Review: Senna

Chronicling Ayrton Senna's career
By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 16, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

The story of Brazilian Formula One champion Ayrton Senna sounds, well, just like a movie — Le Mans, maybe, or TalladegaNights without the comedy. Compiled from thousands of hours of archival footage that provide the intimacy of cinéma vérité — and related through the voiceovers of the participants — Asif Kapadia's documentary chronicles Senna's career from his first European competition as kid on a go-kart to his astonishing three world championships. As movies go, it's lacking in a love interest, unless you consider Senna's rivalry with French driver Alain Prost, the Salieri to his Mozart, who managed to screw him out of his first championship through a technicality but who would develop a bittersweet bond with his nemesis. Those who, like me, don't get the point of racing in general might glimpse an insight into the compulsion from the film's hypnotic driver's-eye views, but more so from Senna's own testimony. When he says he saw God after a victory, you believe him.

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