Pandering in UK Cinema/Dream Horse Review.

The last screening this critic attended outside his home city was the Glasgow Film Festival premiere for the black and white edition of Parasite. He took him some screamings the morning after before heading home. One of these was for the Military Wives movie ( which was briefly covered on this blog at the time.) One of the trailers in front of the film was for the British true story horse racing drama Dream Horse. The story of a Welsh community that invest money into a syndicate. This eventually leads them two acquiring a thoroughbred racehorse. The trailer did not look like anything particularly special. The kind of mildly hokey affair that plays mainly to an audience of OAPs during its theatrical run. Then the pandemic hit. When cinemas reopened for the second ( and hopefully final) time the Dream Horse trailer started to reappear. This reviewer was a little bit shocked that it wasn’t one of the films that had immediately pivoted to streaming or been sold to an SVOD service. Wanner Brothers UK can’t be that insistent on keeping this mid-level drama that would probably do well on streaming as a theatrical exclusive. Yet here we are. A few weeks after reopening came the release date for Dream Horse. Given that this writer wants to cover as many things as possible can he took in the screening. Was there any reason why you can’t distributors take this on the shelf for 18 months?
Honestly no. Well, not the worst thing ever it’s films like Dream Horse that represent the most cynical side possible of Contemporary British filmmaking. A broadly feel good and inoffensive but not in any way engaging drama. The emotionally manipulative tactics in the plot construction are plain to see if viewers are familiar enough with the formula. Granted the film doesn’t do anything wrong but that’s their royal sense of blandness. Toni Collette and Damian Lewis are fine in the central roles but no one here can elevate the entirely manufactured sense of“heart” and “soul.” Granny’s will most likely be mildly distracted by it. A certain level of critical faculty can be dismissed if it works for the intended audience. That said even they deserve better than this. This very broad community brought together by/ person/place/thing/event only really works when a sad narrative device is truly extraordinary. The musical Come From Away ( mentioned in several different posts on this blog) Will always be this critic’s prime example in this field.
Dream Horse doesn’t do anything wrong in the traditional sense. It may entertain those of a less critical disposition who like this style of narrative The final product has garnered much more solid reviews than it deserves. This writer is not saying the reviews are wrong necessarily. Just that if viewers have seen one film adopt this narrative structure they will know exactly what to expect. No one under the age of 60 will remember anything about it within a couple of days of seeing it.

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