Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Dark Horse (2016)

Dark Horse (2016)
Starring:
DOCUMENTARY


Rated: PG for some mild thematic elements and language.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: September 25, 2016 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

An intimate, inspirational 'sports' documentary from Louise Osmond could be the art-house Welsh analog to Secretariat, a kind of 'nags to riches' tale that is hard not to be moved by, or even well up at times.

Dark Horse is modestly produced, but with a lived-in, homely feel with talking-heads, home-videos, and recreations with actual residents of economically downtrodden mining village of Cefn Forest.

One of them, a barmaid and grocery-store cleaner, Jan Vokes, has a dream of getting into "the sport of kings", horse-racing, after overhearing some conversation about it from tax lawyer Howard Davies in 2000.

Class struggles figure into this true story which has a forecasted quality to it, but also up-and-downs for sure as a syndicate of 30 folks join in Jan's risky venture in weekly payments leading to a broodmare - an awkward chestnut-colored horse named Dream Alliance (Dream for short).

The path to surprising success includes the transformative influence of a lovely animal on its backers and their home, but not without failure and setbacks. Part of the enjoyment of Dark Horse is listening to the feisty denizens lifted from a dispirited disposition offering a charismatic wryness. A biped in twinkle-eyed Jan and her now retired quadruped counterpart helped galvanize a little place with a big heart with something more important than hundreds of thousands of pounds as a result that Osmond has crafted so well and fluently to emotionally ingratiate.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Dark Horse (2016)        B+                     B+ 

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