Schumacher – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns. Vanessa Nöcker, Michael Wech
Starring: Michael Schumacer, Corinna Schumacer, Rolf Schumacer, Ralf Schumacer, Jean Todt, Bernie Ecclestone, Sebastian Vettel, Mika Häkkinen, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Flavio Briatore
Available on Netflix September 15th
Even people who aren’t fans of F1 are familiar with Michael Schumacher. If not for the fact that he is one of the brightest stars the sport has ever produced and a seven-time world champion, then they have surely heard of the tragic accident which befell him. In 2014 he was placed into a medically induced coma after suffering a head injury while skiing in the French Alps and he hasn’t been seen publicly since.
This documentary looks at his surprisingly meteoric rise through the F1 ranks from very humble beginnings. Using archive footage and interviews with family, friends and contemporaries, it paints a picture of an extremely determined and focused man. He competed in 19 seasons in F1 between 1991 and 2012, winning 91 races and suffered only one major injury, a broken leg after a crash. Indeed, until his accident, he seemed to have led a pretty charmed life. His injury is touched on near the end of this documentary as his wife explains that he always protected her so now it’s her turn to protect him. We get no real updates or insight into his condition and it makes for an unsatisfying finish.
While we don’t learn anything new about Schumacher – everything featured here is easily available to lookup – it doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a fascinating tale and that he is a very complex individual. It tells his story chronologically and utilises the footage available to the filmmakers well. However, it all feels almost as ordered and disciplined as the man himself. There is no scandal, and no one has a bad word to say about him. While this is a wonderful testament to how highly he is regarded it doesn’t make for a very interesting watch.
Low on drama, but high on facts and flattery for the man himself, this isn’t in the upper echelons of great sporting documentaries but it is well researched and given his current circumstances, it is sure to garner a lot of attention.