Directed by: Randall Wallace Cast: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Scott Glenn, James Cromwell Running Time: 2 hr 3m Rating: PG Due Out: January 25, 2011
PLOT: Penny Chenery Tweedy and her colleagues guide their prized horse to the record-setting win of the 1973 Triple Crown.
WHO'S IT FOR? Horse racing enthusiasts and individuals whom like to know they're in for a happy ending off the get go.
Being a big fan of the world of horse racing, I was excited when I first heard this film was in production. However, when I learned who had been cast, I was a little disappointed. Diane Lane has never appealed to me much, and where I find John Malkovich to be a very talented actor, he's never been a favorite. I was pleased though, upon watching this film, with the performances of both Lane and Malkovich. They both brought a particular weight to the film, providing enough presence to maintain the viewer's interest.
As the title would suggest, the real star of this film is the horse. I have limited knowledge of the real Secretariat -- and was not familiar enough to know if the Secretariat stand-in (the horse actor) was well cast or not -- but in my naive estimation, he did an excellent job conjuring up the magic of the true Secretariat. Through watching this film, one learns about the intricacies of the tale of 'Big Red' (Secretariat's nick name), and his story certainly instills a grandiose sense of awe. It was told, in the included bonus feature documentary, "Heart of A Champion," that after Secretariat's death, the autopsy revealed that his heart was twice the size of any typical horse. This perhaps explains how Secretariat came to completely dominate the Triple Crown in 1973. The explanation works on two levels, 1) a purely physical explanation, "he is moving like a tremendous machine," to quote the announcer at the 1973 Belmont Stakes, and 2) a metaphysical explanation, where the size of one's heart is proportionate to one's will to win.
I found this film to be a truly enjoyable watch. It was technically sound, highly entertaining and equally educational.
MOVIE SCORE: 7/10
BD • Heart of A Champion • Choreographing the Races • A Director's Inspiration: A Conversation with The Real Penny Chenery • Audio commentary by director Randall Wallace • 7 Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace • Secretariat multi-angle simulation • Music video - AJ Michalka "It's Who You Are"
DVD • Heart of A Champion • 3 Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary by director Randall Wallace • Music video - AJ Michalka "It's Who You Are"