Netflix brought Formula 1 to living rooms three years ago. “Drive to survive” is a glossy documentary: dramatically prepared, sometimes over-shot and cinematic exaggerated. Today, September 15th, “SCHUMACHER” will be released by the same streaming service.
And the film about the record world champion from Germany is none of that. It is a documentary about a life in the fast lane – and about the power of fate. Rapid, brutal, emotional.
He starts very quietly and very slowly. Air bubbles in the water. Sun rays flood the sea. A boy and a girl wave at the underwater camera, surrounded by turtles. Ent- instead of acceleration. Right at the beginning, the documentary lifts the curtain on the loving family man Michael Schumacher, opens the private archive that the family has so far kept as secret as a Formula 1 team has kept its racing strategy.
It is a tribute to the husband and father: wedding, skydiving, vacation in Norway. Strong images tell of the fast and at the same time harmonious life away from the racetrack. In between, interview excerpts from time to time. With Schumacher himself, his family, companions, competitors.
There are 112 minutes of pure Michael Schumacher, which quickly become very fast. The scenery changes from the water to the racetrack. Unknown pictures turn into unknown anecdotes like this one: after winning a kart, young Schumi gets 696 marks.
The documentary turns into a success story, outlines Schumacher’s path to becoming the most successful racing driver of his craft with impressive archive images that are largely known to fans: Entry into Formula 1 with Jordan, first successes with Benetton, two world champions, switch to Ferrari.
All the more relieving the radio message from Ferrari chief technology officer Ross Brawn in the Japanese Grand Prix 2000. “It looks good.” It looks good.
Mika Häkkinen, Damon Hill and David Coulthard or the former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt report with shining eyes about a man who was passionate about his sport. Of extraordinary talent, a lot of hard work, technical expertise and an ambition that made the protagonist not just overshot the target once.
For Schumacher fans it is an exciting journey through time with a good dose of nostalgia. For everyone else, an entertaining Formula 1 history lesson with the screeching engine sound of the 90s and 2000s.
While the first world championship title is celebrated extensively on the screen in red, the next four titles are only an encore in the documentary. Schumacher’s comeback at Mercedes is only mentioned in passing. It also doesn’t fit into the suspense of the lead actor, who is used to success.
“It was just bad luck. You can’t have more bad luck, ”says Corinna Schumacher, fighting back tears. “Michael has always protected us. Now we’re protecting Michael. ”30 years after her husband’s Formula 1 debut, she opens her emotional safe full of images and great emotions.
Schumacher is a sensitive portrait of the seven-time Formula 1 world champion and yet not uncritical adulation. The documentary shows the many faces that make up the person and athlete Michael Schumacher. But there is one thing it is not: a Hollywood film.
This is about the real life and fate of a real hero who disappears with his Ferrari into the darkness of the Monaco tunnel.