83.6 F
Fort Worth
Friday, September 18, 2020
- Advertisements -
Entertainment Another inspirational horse-racing movie, but 'Dark Horse' is worth the ride

Another inspirational horse-racing movie, but ‘Dark Horse’ is worth the ride

Other News

Book celebrates defunct newspaper on anniversary of demise

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated PressCOLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Vindicator in Youngstown, a 150-year-old paper that shut down last year because of...

D Magazine founder Wick Allison dies

D Magazine founder and longtime publisher Wick Allison died Sept. 1 after a lengthy battle with cancer, according to a story in...

Fortress Festival team launching Fort Worth-based creative agency

The team behind Fortress Festival is launching Fortress Creative, a new full-service creative agency focused on serving brands and local businesses.

Local agencies take home national honors at AAF program

Balcom Agency wins five silver awards Balcom Agency, a Fort Worth agency founded in...

Does the world really need another inspirational horse-racing movie? From “National Velvet” to “Secretariat,” the against-the-odds tale of equestrian pluck is a staple of cinema.

But who said that love was about need?

“Dark Horse,” a lovable documentary by Louise Osmond, won an audience award for world cinema at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival for its utterly charming look at the unlikely success of Dream Alliance, a racehorse bred by a barmaid in a down-and-out Welsh mining village. What the heck, Janet Vokes figured. She had bred pigeons and whippets. Why not a horse?

Vokes knew she couldn’t do it alone, though, so she wheedled her friends and neighbors into joining her. Twenty-three of them formed a collective, chipping in 10 pounds a week for expenses.

With that money, they bought a mare that had never won a race – and had a habit of throwing riders – along with a stallion that had one attractive quality: a low price tag. Pretty soon there was a foal. He was gangly, but eye-catching, with white markings that looked like socks pulled up to his knees, according to Vokes.

There are ups and downs to the story, which progresses over the course of a decade. You can probably figure out what happens next, even if you didn’t read about it in the papers.

But even knowing – or guessing – the outcome of this tale doesn’t diminish its pleasures. “Dark Horse” isn’t really about horse racing at all – rather, it’s a story of self-described commoners who prove that scrappiness and horse sense are underrated qualities.

The film’s interview subjects, all natural storytellers, bring warmth and comedy to “Dark Horse.” Among the most winning is Vokes, whose coal-delivery man husband Brian’s tattoos and missing teeth shocked some of the upper-crusty horse owners against whom they were competing.

Director Osmond makes do with grainy archival footage, but she gets a bit creative, too, incorporating gorgeous close-ups of sinewy horses and staged reenactments. That last technique sometimes runs the risk of cheesiness, but it works well here.

“Dark Horse” is earnest, sweet and told with sentimentality, featuring shots of horses frolicking in fields set against beautiful string music by Anne Nikitin. Surprisingly, the effect isn’t melodramatic or overbearing, but disarming and endearing.

At times, the documentary’s unhurried pace verges on the slow. Ultimately, though, it is such a feel-good story that it’s best not to rush things.

Three and one-half stars. Rated PG. Contains horses in peril and strong language. 84 minutes.

Ratings Guide: Four stars masterpiece, three stars very good, two stars OK, one star poor, no stars waste of time.

- Advertisements -
- Advertisements -

Latest News

Magnolia at the Modern returns (with masks)

 Magnolia at the Modern, an ongoing series featuring critically acclaimed films, resumes on Friday, September 18, in the Modern’s auditorium. New adjusted showtimes:

Jude Law, Carrie Coon on the moody marital drama ‘The Nest’

By LINDSEY BAHR AP Film WriterCarrie Coon so badly wanted the slow-burn familial drama "The Nest" to be made, she told its...

National memorial to President Eisenhower dedicated

After several delays, a national memorial to President Dwight Eisenhower will open in Washington D.C.The memorial to...

The Kimbell is serving food again

The Kimbell is serving again. Formerly called the Kimbell Buffet, the beloved Kimbell Café is once again serving patrons...

First volume of Barack Obama’s memoir coming Nov. 17

By HILLEL ITALIE AP National WriterNEW YORK (AP) — The first volume of former President Barack Obama's memoir is coming out Nov....