Review Summary: Mourning and yet triumphant. Like the life it eulogizes.
How does one separate a soundtrack from a film? I have stated on this very website that film soundtracks are a cheat in that they construct the visual aspect of enjoyment for you which is half the fun. But then you encounter the soundtrack to a documentary and you reach a wall. If you have knowledge of the subject beforehand does the same rule apply or is it in a different sphere? With The Soundtrack to Senna the answer resides in both realms.
The soundtrack to the Asif Kapadia directed Biopic of Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna provides ammunition for both sides. The manner in which the film is constructed invites the first. The soundtrack leaps for the orchestral retrospective wails of God to the carnival bombast of “Japan Lotus” and on to the solemn denouncement of “A Morte” and “Strange Justice” (Nicked from a rather terrible Halle Berry movie called Perfect Stranger). In the end the soundtrack choices are pin perfect to the scenes and if you have walked into the film ignorant to the history of its subject you can indeed subscribe to the first take.
But then you are stuck with the second take for people who already know the story, know the outcome to events ominously foreshadowed and are constructing the visuals in their own minds before the end comes the regular rules fall out the window.
The end result is both sides are correct. Soundtracks to such films must appeal to both demographics and this is one that delivers in spades. It captures the highs and the lows, from mournful trumpet wails to triumphant Latin beats and this is the true victory of the Pinto score. The story is that he offered to do the score for free such is the legend of Senna in Brazil. The listener should be happy for such dedication.
If you know the story you can enjoy the soundtrack without it. If you have not heard of Senna then you owe yourself the chance to watch and then the soundtrack takes on greater meaning. It’s truly a tale of two sides.