Starring: Corinna Schumacher, James Allen, Michael Williams
Director: Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker, Michael Wech
Running Time: 112 mins
Schumacher is a German documentary about the life and career of Michael Schumacher, seven-time Formula 1 world champion, and his rollercoaster of success from humble origins to record-breaking achievements.
The incredible story of one of the greatest ever drivers in world motorsport, Schumacher is a captivating documentary from start to finish, most notably offering an unparalleled insight into one of Formula 1’s most mysterious characters, and how he broke all the records to become the best ever.
As a die-hard Formula 1 fan myself, I’ve seen a number of driver documentaries, from Lauda: The Untold Story to Superswede and of course Senna, and Schumacher finds itself among the better of these documentaries.
While the film isn’t on the same level as Senna (we’ll talk about that in a moment), Schumacher does a great job at using the appeal of on-track action and drama to dive deeper into the driver as an individual, with our knowledge of his sporting exploits serving as a window into his personal life.
As one of the sport’s seemingly more closed-off personalities, Michael Schumacher’s personal life has always been well-guarded, but it’s his character that has always made him such a captivating enigma when placed against his immense success in Formula 1.
Focusing heavily on his early years with Ferrari, where he famously rebuilt the team from farce to championship-winning force, this documentary is a deeply insightful demonstration of how Schumacher’s intensely hardworking attitude overcame everybody else in the sport, and how this led to him breaking pretty much every record in the book.
As a very private man, however, Schumacher’s personal life is also dealt with in a touching and sensitive manner, particularly when dealing with the accident after his retirement from Formula 1. That means that the documentary does tug at your heartstrings on a few occasions, but is never excessively sensational in its attempts to do so.
That being said, Schumacher doesn’t quite have the same emotional intensity as Senna, not only because of the difference between the two men as characters – Senna being the more fiery, emotional persona – but also because of the style of the documentaries.
There are numerous parallels between the two, with a number of contributors from Senna appearing in Schumacher, but this film is a lot more interview-heavy, and as a result arguably less cinematic, and less majestic.
Senna was a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking that deservedly won awards all over the world, notable for its intense pacing, emotional depth and exhilarating musical score. Schumacher doesn’t match Senna when it comes to pacing and score, and as such just falls short when it comes to delivering a really spectacular documentary. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.7 overall.