Documentary on Formula One Racing Hero Takes too Long to Pick up Speed By Rich Monetti
Ayrton Senna da Silva is considered to be one of the greatest Formula One drivers in history. The Brazilian won the World Drivers’ Championship in 1988, 1990, and 1991 and took the top spot in 41 Grands Prix and 65 pole positions. Unfortunately, he was killed in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. So with much to celebrate, Vicentini Gomez takes a look back at the boy who made the man in a documentary called, Ayrton – Childhood in the Heart of Brazil. Plenty of insight for sure over 89 minutes, the entertainment value is lacking, and the viewer has to wait too long to be pulled in by the core of this remarkable man.
Nonetheless, we are dropped into the rural farming community that Ayrton grew up in. Spacious and rural to the extreme, Becão, as his friends called him, had plenty of room to gobble up the miles.
A bit of a twist is then thrown for those not familiar with his story. Becão is the son of a rich landowner. A benevolent landlord, the father helped his community, gave gifts to the local children and provided just wages and opportunity for their parents.
Either way, the only preeminence coming from Becão was the result of a heart that could not be tamed by fear, societal norms or the rules that elders lay down. So no pretense in sight, he played just like all other kids.
Just at an accelerated pace, the fitting in actually inspires several old friends to song. Heartwarming, the way his praises are harmonized. Not so entertaining, though, as they drone on about the boyish free spirit of Becão.
Of course, we soon get into the boy’s penchant for speed. Several of his friends recount stories about Becão breakneck on boats, horses, motorcycles and even his father’s airplane.
We definitely get it. But we all have youthful stories of reckless abandon, and they work best when the person re-conjuring the image can do so with flair and humor. The subjects in this regard fail their old friend. Therefore, viewers must endure long lags and are left hanging on for retellings that match the harrowing rides.
Still, the film does give us a stand in for the actual Ayrton that counters the overly long anecdotes. Portrayed by Rodrigo Dorado, there’s a spiritual component that gets to the heart of all matters Ayrton. “Fear Fascinates me. Speeding is my soul,” Dorado assures in one instance.
On the other hand, the revelations also let us know that speed is not just about the fun and games of youthful foolishness. An early indicator comes from one of the friends. We learn that Becão loved to study and observe animals, because he felt nature could provide insight into conquering key aspects of locomotion.
That said, Becão’s break away into mastering the actual domain begins when his father introduces him to go karting. “Go-Karting is the key to everything,” we are told by one of Ayrton’s team.
Here in the final 30 minutes a clean break occurs. His professional contemporaries reel us in by revealing an underlying seriousness that motivated what appeared to be sheer recklessness. Becão became a student of the game, and by mastering the broad range of intricacies the champion was set apart.
We go away feeling pretty good too. Dorado sums up for Ayrton, and we learn that no matter how fast he went, soul drove everything he did. The movie just had to put us in the driver’s seat quicker.
Rich Monetti was born in the Bronx and grew up in Somers, New York. He went onto study Computer Science and Math at Plattsburgh State. But after about a decade in the field, he discovered that writing was his real passion. He’s been a freelancer since 2003 and is always looking for the next story. Rich also dabbles with screenwriting and stays active by playing softball and volleyball.