“Dark Horse” won the audience award this past year at Sundance and is finally making it’s way across America in local theaters. It’s a British thoroughbred racing documentary about a poor mining town in Wales and the local barmaid who gets the crazy idea she can breed a race horse. After all, she’s bred racing pigeons and dogs before so why not a horse?
With the help of 23 local pub patrons, she does, and the result is a stunning story of “Nags To Riches,” as the young chestnut foal named, “Dream Alliance,” works his way up through the elitist ranks of racing all the way to the Grand National at Aintree.
“Dark Horse,” is as much about this depressed small town coming alive over the group ownership of a horse than it is about the trials and tabulations of racing. There is an injury, a come-back, and a screen filled with toothless Brits who truly believe if it wasn’t for their horse, they wouldn’t have anything to smile about. Life in Cefn Fforest has been anything but easy.
Thoroughbred racing in England is quite different than in America, and for those opposed to it’s existence, this film won’t change your mind. In fact, it will likely make your case stronger.
But, there is a genuine satisfaction in watching this film that transcends the sport as a beaten down village finds a way to believe in themselves at a time when they feel the most neglected. The trick here is it took at horse to wake them up.
“Dark Horse” is a real charmer.