The new documentary on the life and career of professional go-karter turned Formula One racing hero Ayrton Senna is a thrilling treat for even the most disinterested. The Brazilian-born Senna’s life is recounted through extensive archival footage ranging from television interviews to actual driver’s seat POVs. The driver rivalries and complex politics of the sport play out like the twists and turns of a soap opera with young spiritualist Senna in the role as the battered dreamer with the inherent gift to “take a car faster than its design capabilities.” It’s best to go into the film with as little knowledge of the subject as possible although there are sequences so intense that viewers will be tempted to reach for their Wikipedia-enabled cell phones to find out what happens next. The film is ultimately a mere illustration of the life of a national hero so don’t expect a subtext or a greater truth, but do expect to be moved to tears by the manipulative talents of the filmmakers as well as the spirit of their subject.
Senna opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.