If you don’t know of Ayrton Senna, you don’t know about the greatest Formula One driver who has ever lived. Whether you watch Formula One or not, the documentary Senna (2011) is an inspiring movie, in both its storytelling and its material. Senna was not only a great driver, he was a man of God, and one who held his temper through many situations in Formula One, in which, he would have been justified in cursing many people. But he did not. He kept his composure and just tried to get back to pure racing despite the obstacles and the politicization of Formula One racing.
The documentary is unique in that it is told exclusively using archival footage. There is no one narrator. There are many. Besides Senna and a couple of rivals, you don’t see the person telling the story. And the stories themselves are brilliantly woven together using Senna family video, on-board racecar cameras, aerial shots, and television productions of the races and the subsequent interviews.
The movie should be nominated for an Oscar in the category. It’s one of the best documentaries I have seen and definitely the best of 2011.