Schumacher is a revealing, yet incomplete documentary of a Formula 1 legend.
Netflix documentary Schumacher was released on the streaming service on September 15, 2021.
Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher is no different than sports legends Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Tom Brady. All of them are driven, uncompromising, and even a bit of a narcissist. So competitive, it rubs others the wrong way, particularly their competitors. Maybe even some teammates. Though, you can never question their greatness. He is a picture-perfect portrait of greatness. Yet, an imperfect, fallible human being like the rest of us.
The documentary film about his rise through the ranks is unparalleled to almost anyone in the racing world. At the time of his retirement in 2012, he was the greatest Formula One driver of all time. He had 91 wins. An incredible 68 pole positions and 155 podium finishes (top-three finishes). Even after all the technological advancements, he still has records for the fastest laps. Only Sebastian Vettel has tied him in most wins in a single season.
Direct by Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker, and Michael Wech, Schumacher has enough archival and unseen footage to satisfy the man’s fervent fanbase. It’s also thoughtfully executed and impressively put together. The film is never afraid to show the legend’s intensity and ruthless driving record. The interviews from team members and even competitors note an honest assessment that is always respectful. Noting his passion and competitiveness was only matched by his love and loyalty to his family and crew.
However, Schumacher feels incomplete because it glosses over the legend’s current medical condition. He retired in 2012 and suffered a ski accident the following year. He was put in a medically induced coma and has gone through lengthy treatments. His family has noted his condition has changed him, but he is alive. Fans, ardent or casual, would be interested to see the rise and current state of a sports great. In particular, how a man who was once in control of his body and actions now has lost all control. That is certainly his and the family’s right.
For that reason, many ask what was the point? Branding? Maybe. The truth of the matter is that the lack of insight into his current condition makes Schumacher a good documentary, but not a great one.
What did you think of the Netflix documentary Schumacher? Comment below.