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Secretariat (2010)
 
 

Just when you thought John Malkovich didn't have another deranged performance left in him, he has come storming back with another rare turn, as Lucien Laurin, the mercurial horse trainer in this true-ish story about Secretariat, the Triple Crown winner of 1973.

His pork-pie hat is supposed to tell you he is French Canadian because his accent has no chance of letting you in on this. Doing away with both would have been a smart move.

This is a movie about supposedly the greatest ever racehorse, Secretariat. A troubling premise from the outset if you know anything about horseracing. Redrum might be spinning in his grave if he wasn't just laughing.

Now there is nothing wrong with trying to reproduce a rare story, especially the great triumph of a great horse, but it is very difficult to do. This film appears to be more about the fortuitous owner, Penny Chenery, than the horse itself. Diane Lane plays the character without a shred of real emotion for the equine champion or anyone else.
 
The best sporting movies tell you about the stuff you don't see and how hard the stuff you do see really is. Horseracing can be brutal, horse races can be rough and violent and yet fantastically exciting when the racing is close. Secretariat the movie just fails on all accounts to let you know the physicallity of the sport, the tension of the punter or the hard work of the stable.

This film is basically a stab at smulch and if you like to cry whilst watching movies then rent E.T. as this will not do it for you either.
 
Bizarrely, and with an incredible lack of appreciating reality, there is a twist to the DVD version that I rented. After the film had finished along came three old reels of footage recording the actual races in the Triple Crown and their live commentaries. What do you know, they were actually exciting events to be at and to watch on film. Jockeys actually had whips and used them, racing actually took place. There was no way of knowing that from watching Secretariat. I got my money back with those high quality clips!!

For charting history and 3 great film clips - 3/10 + Cinematography very accomplished
Marks : 3/10
Director Randall Wallace Diane Lane Penny Chenery
Writing Mike Rich John Malkovich Lucien Laurin
Cinematography Dean Semler Margo Martindale Miss Ham
Film Editing John Wright Scott Glenn Chris Chenery
    Nelsan Ellis Eddie Sweat
 
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