By: Erika Ashley
A group of small town friends and neighbors band together to finance their dreams of owning, training, and racing a thoroughbred race horse. One woman, Jan Vokes, began working in a bar and had the courage and drive to approach her local patrons to join her forming the Dream Alliance. The group contributed nominal fees monthly that financed the purchasing of a retired race mare and aided in the funding of breeding costs and training. The horse, Dream Alliance, himself was a fighter and without his perseverance and the support from his team and owners he wouldn’t have even had a shot.
The documentary itself is fairly slow moving but follows the story of a community and its prized horse overcoming adversity. The setup and telling of the underdog story is incredibly predictable and lacks originality. The DVD’s back cover literally describes the entire 85-minute runtime in one swift and precise sentence. As mentioned, the pacing was slow and almost boring at times. I found myself picking up my cell phone to check the time on several occasions and it failed to keep my full attention throughout.
The individuals involved with the Dream Alliance are sweet and genuine. They wanted to do what they loved even against all odds, so the underlying theme of underdog to champ is inspirational. Because the group is from Wales their thick Welsh accent was a little difficult to understand at times, but was not bad at all throughout. If necessary, there are subtitle options in the DVD’s Main Menu and in many languages available.
I am honestly surprised that this film come out in theaters even for a limited run, but not shocked that it grossed $1,517.00 and was produced by Sony Pictures Classics. The film’s sound was fine and played without issues but didn’t have any surround sound features. The only supplements included in the Extra Features section was the film’s theatrical trailer, additional trailers for upcoming Sony movies, and a photo gallery. The photos are that of the Dream Alliance members and the group’s namesake horse Dream.
Overall, this documentary is better off on a streaming service because I doubt it will gross not nearly as much as it’s box-office take home. It is meant to be on the BBC or maybe even a premium cable channel but being released on DVD was unnecessary.
Dark Horse is rated PG for some mild thematic elements and language and has an 85-minute runtime.