Saturday, 14 May 2011

DVD Review: Secretariat

Rating: 6/10 - Good

Secretariat follows the true life story of a determined housewife who uses her instincts to go against all odds in the horse racing industry. Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) decides to take over her ill father's Virginia based Meadow Stables, despite having a lack of horse knowledge.

Director: Randall Wallace. Screenplay: Mike Rich and William Nack. Producers: Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray. Cinematographer: Dean Semler. Editor: John Wright. Score: Nick Glennie-Smith. Studio: Walt Disney Pictures. Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Amanda Michalka, Margo Martindale, Dylan Walsh, Scott Glenn, Kevin Connolly, Dylan Baker and Drew Roy. Age Restriction: PG. Running Time: 123 Minutes.

Penny has a feeling that a newly born foal (Big Red / Secretariat) has the ability to be a great racer. Nobody believes in the horse and she battles to get people on her side. She managers to get a well-known horse trainer Lucien Lauren (John Malkovich) to train Big Red. After the failure of Big Red’s first race, Penny and Lucien decide that they need a new jockey that will be able to handle Big Red. Ron Turcotte (Otto Thorwarth) is that jockey and he managers to handle Big Red well.

After winning several races Penny decides that they need to go after winning the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is winning three big races in four months. The journey this group takes has many ups and downs. Penny spends a great deal of time in Virginia on the farm and this puts strain on her relationship with her husband and children, who she has to leave behind in Denver.

This is not only a story about the best racehorse in years but also the story of a woman who puts her foot down in a male dominated industry and puts them all in their place. The story is set in the 1970’s when woman were meant to stay at home and be housewives. Penny lives her dream and becomes a good role model for her children as well as all the other woman in her time.

The story is very sweet and quite gripping. The races get quite intense and have you sitting on the edge of your seat cheering for Secretariat with a knot in your stomach. There are teary eyed moments and proud moments. The story captures you in a way you probably won’t be expecting.

The filming is fantastic, especially the scenes of the races. You get to see the horses up close and how each of their muscles is moving. The slow motion scenes add more to the drama and excitement of the race - making it more gripping.

Verdict: Overall I think this is a very good portrayal of a very special story. I myself am not usually a fan of these types of ‘horse’ films but found myself completely gripped and loving each and every moment. For a sweet film about a sweet horse and his courageous owner, trainer and jockey watch Secretariat.

Secretariat is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

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