Judge David Johnson was born to run. And love.
Born to run.
With the Kentucky Derby in our rearview and the promise of a Triple Crown winner once again jettisoned into outer space, why not get some more horse action to fill in for those trips between the Preakness and OTB?
PBS is here with a 90-minute documentary on horse racing in general and the science of the thoroughbred specifically. Filmmaker Paul Wagner took his cameras and followed a selection of owners, trainers and their horses as they prepared for the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
With these separate plotlines as the guide, Wagner fleshes them out with history on horseracing, gambling and the incredibly complex—and lucrative—industry of developing thoroughbred bloodlines. From the juice of the Arabians to the studs taking care of business for 30 large down south, we get the Full Monty on how these potential race machines come into their own. And as an added bonus: what goes down in a jockey locker room!
What is that jockeys say to each other before a big race? You'll have to tune in to discover the unvarnished truth. Snarkiness aside, Thoroughbred is a solid documentary, overflowing with pretty much everything you'd want to know about the sport of horse racing and all the extra-curriculum goings-on that surround it: the pomp and circumstance of Derby day, the heartbreak of notifying the world your prized horse and consensus number one can't run because of health concerns, the allure of losing boatloads of cash betting, the awkwardness of twenty tiny men crammed into one locker room.
This isn't a "gotcha" documentary either, though I'm certain, like any sport, horse racing could cough up unmentionables if prodded. No, Paul Wagner seems to have genuine affection for the sport and for the humans involved; there's heartbreak at play here, none more so groin-kicking as the I Want Revenge press conference or the extended shot of an owner and his family watching with stricken faces as their favored horse craters in the home stretch.
A decent DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, extra scenes and series of interviews.
Not Guilty. Even if the sport isn't your bag, this is some interesting
Give us your feedback!
Scales of Justice
• Bonus Scenes
Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.