- Gareth Crook
Schumacher (2021) - 7/10
Schumacher. Everyone knows the name. Whether you’re into motorsport or not. The trick here in this new documentary is what all documentaries strive for, to be more than the headline, to dig deeper into the story. Motor-racing and F1 is the vehicle if you’ll pardon the pun, but this is very much a human story. Now I’d consider myself a motorsport fan, but only of more recent years. I never followed Formula 1 while Michael Schumacher was in his prime. We get the likes of James Allen, Eddie Jordon, Sebastien Vettel, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Mika Häkkinen, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Mark Webber, the family Rolf, Ralf, Corinna, Gina and Mick, Michael himself… and Bernie Ecclestone, I guess inevitably. All telling the story of the wonder kid who burst unexpectedly into the worlds most famous race series. Struggling with the fame. Going head to head with hero’s and getting his elbows out. It’s not as well crafted as Senna, that tells Ayrton’s story beautifully through archive footage. There’s is a lot of archive though, it covers the lions share of the heavy lifting, but there are new interviews too, largely with the family. The archive delves deeply into the early history. Family filmed footage of karting. The Senna rivalry and the crash that took his life. The Senna crash when you see it, doesn’t look too bad. I mean it’s still bad, but certainly by modern standards, the driver is getting out. Senna didn’t though. Stretchered off to hospital in a coma. This isn’t Senna’s story, but Schumacher went on to win that race and clearly is shaken by events. Maybe the only time he ever was. He’s a steely guy. Schumacher’s current condition isn’t addressed much, but in the telling of the Senna aftermath, his wife Corinna talks about his mental strength. The ability to block things out and focus. “He shows me this every day”. It’s the clearest indication the Schumacher is a fighter still fighting, but after that skiing accident, he’s now “Different”. It’s an interesting story. Undoubtably one of the best drivers in motorsport history. Also undoubtably absolutely ruthless, determined or dirty some would say. Me included, it’s undeniable. He’s a great driver, but there’s to many incidents that clearly illustrate he was a hot head. It’s to it’s credit that the film, heavily endorsed by the family doesn’t pull these punches. Focusing as much on this as his part in rebuilding Ferrari. Race footage. Dramatic music. The dominance he achieved, it’s all here, but there’s so much more for fans of F1 or just captivating human ambition.