An extraordinary story of ambition against all the odds - based on a true story - will Dream Alliance fulfil the town's dreams, or will it all end in tears?
- Toni Collette! Without her powerful acting presence at the heart of the piece, I think the movie would have died in a ditch. As for her Welsh accent I (as an Englishman) thought it was pretty good: on my 'Welshometer', using the scale of Richard Burton as a 10 to RDW's "Doctor Dolittle" as a 1, I'd give Ms Collette about an 8. The illustrious Mrs Movie Man (as a Welsh lady) was less impressed, but found her "tolerable" when mixed with the other Welsh-born actors!
- And what a wonderful supporting cast of well know names from all our yesterdays. Just so great to see the great Siân Phillips ("I, Claudius"), Lynda Baron ('Nurse Gladys' from "Open all Hours"), Peter Davison ("Doctor Who") and Nicholas Farrell ("Chariots of Fire") in the cast. It was also (as is traditional in these "true stories") for the actual people to appear alongside their acting counterparts in the end titles: Howard Davies in particular seemed to be chuffed to bits to be singing alongside Damien Lewis!
- Hats off to cinematographer Erik Wilson and Chris Bates (the "drone operator"), for some impressive shots. The camera angles from the turf-pumping racing scenes are very impressive.
- How did it make me feel? Very little at all. Which is a problem. The movie is so utterly predictable that I saw every element of the story play out way before it did. Did this happen in real life? In which case, that's annoying that life was so unrealistically predictable in its ups and downs!
- Elements of the story also felt formulaic: from the token comedy cranky old bloke (Karl Johnson) to Jan's brooding father-with-a-grudge. This latter element seems unnecessarily bolted onto the plot: poorly worked through and pretty superfluous.
Summary Thoughts on "Dream Horse": This is a feature debut for welsh-born Euros Lyn, most familiar (as a peculiar name) for popping up in the end credits of TV shows such as "Doctor Who", "Torchwood" and "His Dark Materials". And, as a great supporter of UK films, I really wanted to like this one. But it just didn't do it for me. It's also unfortunate that some of the subject material makes it unsuitable for the 6-to-8 year old horse fanatics... this is no "International Velvet".
I've seen some social media comments from people who adore the movie. And, to be clear, it's NOT a bad movie. I just personally didn't connect with me. Just goes to show that cinema really is 'horses for courses' sometimes!
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