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Senna

This fast-paced documentary profiles Ayrton Senna, one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula One racing, and a hero in his native Brazil. Using only archival footage, director Asif Kapadia examines the idealistic Senna's inspiring legend. Charismatic, compassionate and a dedicated risk-taker, Senna was known for his integrity in a sport often fraught with cutthroat politics, and also for the deep religious faith that gave him purpose.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 4.3
Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 92%
Critics' score: 92   Audience score: 96   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

"Senna" makes a fascinating subject in a pretty entertaining film about a sport that isn't followed that closely by most Americans. But our very ignorance of that subject helps the film and adds to its impact. We don't know this story by heart. full review

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel

Captivating, chilling, and surprisingly sublime. full review

Christine Champ, Film.com

A psychologically intriguing if at times too hagiographic portrait of a man who often held pole position in his profession and felt nearer to God because of it. full review

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

There's not an ounce of fat or a wasted shot throughout. full review

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

You don't have to know anything about car racing at all. Instead, you simply have to like a great story, one that has all the elements: drama, inspiration, competition, victory, defeat, betrayal and, looming above it all, tragedy. full review

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

It's stripped of narration, talking heads, and anything else that might threaten to slow it down. full review

Anthony Lane, New Yorker

Even if you can't tell Formula One from Grecian Formula, Senna is pretty exciting stuff. full review

Tom Long, Detroit News

Most interesting for the way its construction builds on the inherent austerity of auto racing. full review

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

Real life eclipses fiction in delivering a tale that combines heroism, villainy, suspense and a surprising amount of emotional resonance. full review

Bruce Demara, Toronto Star

What makes "Senna" essential viewing is the propulsive education it provides in one of the world's most popular sports, and the introduction it provides to an extraordinary athlete and human being. full review

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Kapadia is working with an embarrassment of riches, but to his credit he selects wisely, and has the good sense to keep the talking heads off the screen. full review

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail

Senna feels a touch too short to be fully realized -- but then again, so was Ayrton Senna's life. full review

Dana Stevens, Slate

Senna is earnest, eloquent, and impossibly charismatic, and his rocketing ascension through the ranks of professional drivers - gunning his car at more than 200 m.p.h. down the straightaways - is something to behold. full review

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

The movie's assemblage of audio interviews poured mostly over astounding race footage is fit for a shrine. full review

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

Plays like a narrative feature, juicy and alive, with enough kinetic excitement to hook the Formula One-ignorant (me, I knew next to nothing about the subject), let alone racing fans worldwide. full review

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

"Senna" is a documentary that does the job it sets out to do. I wish it had tried for more. full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

There are some thrilling you-are-there sequences shot inside the racing car from his POV as he zooms around the tracks. It's like watching a video game made real. full review

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

Kapadia has, quite daringly, decided to rely completely on primary materials - although occasionally we hear the voices of after-the-fact observers, what we see is what happened then. full review

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

My interest in watching men drive machines in ovals is limited, and in this documentary the title character mostly comes across as an uninteresting dope. full review

Kyle Smith, New York Post

Kapadia creates a full picture of a talented driver (rain on a track was a good omen for him) and his humble family, and the country that embraced him at a crucial time in its history. full review

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
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