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True racing drama gets chequered flag

SENNA Documentary; directed by Asif Kapadia >Mark Evans

Truth be told, I've never understood Formula One racing. Fair enough if you support a local sports team, or Manchester United or even Barcelona -- they've got history, passion and a loyal following.

But F1? It's hard to understand how people follow corporate brands -- and I only ever seem to tune in for the scary crashes.

But Senna is different -- a documentary about a person, rather than a corporate identity, who died in tragic circumstances aged just 34.

Like all good sports documentaries, this is all about humanity, and special human beings in particular.

And Brazilian folk hero Ayrton Senna was just that, a man of many layers who took the racing sport by storm.


Pieced together from thousands of hours of footage, some of it unseen, a lot of praise has to go to the editing team who bring a legend back to life with meticulous cutting and splicing of archive material.

The movie-makers follow his professional life, from bursting onto the world stage at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1984, to his death on the San Marino circuit a decade later.

It seems like a live action drama, filled with high-speed crashes, delirious fans and a looming date with destiny.

A mixture of religious faith, bundles of charisma, an inner fight with his doubts and demons and a drive to win -- at all costs. It's great as it captures the tension of his track duels with nemesis Alain Prost and hints at Senna's inner feeling that he may be doomed to die doing what he loved.

Like Borg-McEnroe, Keane-Vieira, Mourinho-everyone, it's a tale of egos and it's all the more fascinating for it.

Director Asif Kapadia does a great job in making a movie about a niche sport into a cult classic. Recommended.

DVD EXTRAS: The Greatest Victory Of All featurette; home videos; Lost radio interview with Gerald Donaldson; trailers