(director/writer: Louise Osmond; cinematographer: Benjamin Kracun; editor: Joby Gee; music: Anne Nikitin; cast: Jan Vokes, Howard Davies, Tom O’Brien (Jockey) ; Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Judith Dawson; Sony Picture Classics; 2015-UK)
“Enticing nags-to-riches story.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A feel-good racing story from a tight-knit Wales mining town. It’s directed and written with a passion for the underdog by Louise Osmond (“Deep Water”). The middle-aged Welsh barmaid, Jan Vokes, in 2000, gets the locals to pool their money to buy a racehorse to breed and race. Howard Davies, the local tax adviser, joins Jan to talk thirty of her pub clientele in Cefn Fforest, South Wales, into each putting up 10 pounds a week as a syndicate to breed and train the chestnut-colored Dream Alliance.
Despite early-on injuries, in this enticing nags-to-riches story, Dream Alliance goes on to compete in the 2009 Welsh Grand National and 2010 Grand National, winning a grand total of 137,000 pounds along the way. Don’t expect anything new, as it follows the classic sport’s movie narrative. The documentary uses interviews, reconstructions, and stock footage. The syndicate show they are not only interested in the racehorse as a cash cow, but when he’s injured and can’t race anymore opt to care for him rather than put him down to save expenses.
REVIEWED ON 4/29/2018 GRADE: B-