Senna (2010) Director: Asif Kapadia

You don't have to be a fan of F1 or Ayrton Senna to appreciate this incredibly moving and candid documentary about the Brazilian motor racing champion. It's an amazing piece of filmmaking by Asif Kapadia, featuring extraordinary footage of Senna from 1984 - 1994 pieced together as a story and really as a white knuckle drama. We follow Senna's rise to fame - he really is the guy who 'lives by the edge and breaks the rules' - and the devastating events of San Marino in 1994. We know what is coming and at times this makes Senna extremely hard to watch, especially as he talks of his hopes and dreams of the future and some frightening, almost supernatural, visions and thoughts before his fatal crash at San Marino.

How Kapadia has put together the footage is a triumph - he uses family-cleared footage and imagery which is constructed into a riveting and absorbing narrative. You could be forgiven for forgetting that you are actually watching real footage as there is cut-throat drama and some OMG moments. Senna lived his life to the full but what ultimately comes across is that he was a very likeable, sociable man who did much for charity. His spats with Prost are captivating, with real rivalry and some dangerous reactions from Senna. His talent and almost divine guidance to be the ultimate at his sport is unquestionable.

The film's pace does not falter - we are in the driving seat with Senna from the very start, with some incredible in-car footage as he speeds around the international tracks. There's also some great moments of comedy despite the tragedy we know is coming - for example, it's no secret here that he's a ladies' man and we see a great moment of seduction live on a surreal Brazilian TV show where the presenter flirts with him outright and later becomes his girlfriend. When the inevitable does come, like Michael Hutchence, he has the best-looking front row at his funeral.

It all builds up to San Morino. Senna is unhappy with his car and is not his usual confident self to race. You can see his tension and nerves through the footage - an actor couldn't play this better. You almost can't believe what you're seeing. The film suggests that the race was doomed and Senna almost believed something bad would happen to him. Fellow racer Roland Ratzenberger was killed during qualifying, and Rubens Barrichello is seriously injured. When Senna takes to the tracks, we drive as him with in-car footage until the crash. It's incredibly powerful, haunting and emotional. We turn a corner. The screen goes black.

Senna makes it clear that this was a man who was at the top of his sport. His talent to drive, to overtake - albeit it sometimes quite recklessly - and to excel is something we could all take a few pointers from. This is motivation. This is striving to be the best you can be. It's a tragic end, and in that sense a horror movie or thriller hurtling towards destruction, but it's a great tribute to a remarkable man who deserves to have his legacy seen by mass audiences.

5/5 skid marks