Magazine article Screen International

The Cup

Magazine article Screen International

The Cup

Article excerpt

Dir: Simon Wincer. Australia. 2010. 105mins

With a local release timed to coincide with the build-up to November's Melbourne Cup, this $15m budgeted horse race movie is based on real events that gripped Australia - or at least the Australian media -- during the 2002 running of "the race that stops the nation".

The climactic race brings welcome tension and energy.

Equine enthusiasts will be happy with the thundering steeds in racetrack action and with the many authentic scenes of training and preparation, but moviegoers will expect more than this prosaic presentation of a sad and inspiring true story that might better have been told as a documentary. The Cup has opened wide at the multiplexes: its chances outside Australia seem limited.

Veteran director Wincer has several animal movie credits, including Phar Lap (1983), Free Willy (1993) and The Young Black Stallion (2003). But his screenplay here, co-written with Texas journalist Eric O'Keefe, is full of stodgy exposition for those who don't remember or never knew the original events. After a slow start, it's 40 minutes before any real drama intrudes.

Damien and Jason Oliver are the jockey sons of a famous jockey father who died in a racing accident when they were small. Jockey of the Year Damien (Stephen Curry) has controversially accepted to ride in the Cup for Irish trainer Dermot Weld (Brendon Gleeson). …

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