Film review: Schumacher is a poignant tale celebrating the greatest F1 driver
The documentary is out on Netflix now.
Going into this documentary as someone who does not follow Formula One (F1) extensively, I was pleasantly surprised upon finishing it.
Schumacher is a sports documentary about the life of the renowned F1 driver, seven-time champion Michael Schumacher. It is an immersive tale about the journey of an all-time great, from his humble beginnings as a go kart driver in which he had already demonstrated that he was a class above the rest, albeit utilising old tires and recycled karting gear.
The documentary does an effective job in translating the magnitude and intensity of the sport, with every race feeling like an all-action blockbuster. The two-hour long documentary ignites a spark for the sport that so many people around the world adore whilst capturing the electrifying intensity of F1. It also highlights the magnitude of Schumacher’s career, his rivalries with Ayrton Senna and Mika Hakkinen and the sport as a whole.
It also sheds light on the person behind the helmet. He seemed to be well-liked by everyone in the sport (perhaps, apart from David Coulthard after the infamous 1998 Belgian Grand Prix crash) and he was known to engage with the technical staff behind his cars’ engine in meticulous fashion, often staying behind late in the garage to ensure the cars were in tip top condition.
Schumacher’s driving skills were impeccably dexterous and the documentary highlights this during his tenure driving for Ferrari. The Ferrari engine wasn’t on par with its competitors, namely McLaren, but Schumacher’s sheer technical driving ability to navigate this deficiency eventually culminated in him winning Ferrari’s first world drivers’ championship in 21 years at the 2000 Japanese Grand Prix.
The haunting footage of Schumacher talking about Senna’s coma and eventual death is gut wrenching, especially after what happened to Schumacher in Dec 2013, after the tragic skiing accident and his subsequent induced coma in Dec 2013.
Given that this documentary is the only one about Schumacher that has been made in cooperation with his family, the documentary feels authentic, with the insightful interviews with his wife and kids standing out the most.
Viewers get to see Michael at the end of the day in a different light – a family man and a loving husband. You feel for the family in particular given the circumstances of Schumacher’s health and the current state he is in. As stated by his wife Corinna, after all those years of protection, they protect Michael today.
The only flaw I could find with the documentary was that I thought the opening credits scene was a tad bit tacky but it could just be me being nitpicky.
Overall, the documentary is captivatingly emotional and even a person with a heart of steel just might feel a pinch whilst watching this. It’s a documentary worth watching even for people that do not follow the sport.
It’s a powerful tale, detailing the human spirit and one man’s trail to glory.