Secretariat: The Gut Feel
Uncensored/Dr. Ramawatar Sharma
There are no screeching car tyres, no rattling of metal, no dogs barking in the deep dark night and yet the heart pounds, pulse rate fastens like gallop of a horse and yes, horse it is -‘Secretariat’.
The film is based on real life story with all the main characters alive at the time of its making. Psychologically, the human ‘gut-feeling’ is a very powerful guiding force, provided there is a determination to implement it. And many ignorant people have achieved where the knowledgeable failed.
A determined housewife enters men’s domain be it an all gentlemen club or the Derby. There is a mission and a legacy to protect and nurture. Nothing big happens without risk - gain fame and riches or get totally wiped out. And she dares, fighting against all odds, trusting a recently born boy-horse named ‘Secretariat’.
When a prodigy is born, signs of its talent are immediately obvious to the knowledgeable master or the horse trainer in this case - face, body language, attitude and the gallop. And the horse matures to be a champion of all times in history of horse-racing. The movie ‘Secretariat’ is a sports docu-drama thriller depicting the life and times of this prodigal horse who won all the three races to win the Triple Crown. The races included Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.
As such, it is a very simple storyline. There is no sabotage, conspiracy or crime. No villainous characters yet the film is pulsating to an enthusiastic viewer. The pace of sequences is tightly controlled and it does not allow eyes to wander away from the screen. For this to happen, director Randall Wallace deserves full marks.
Diane Lane plays as Penny Chenery in an emotional and powerful role of a housewife and a mother who is forced by circumstances into horse racing. She is a fine actress and plays this role to perfection. Many a time, she finely depicts the vulnerability of a woman in a men's world yet her body language looks very positive and her expressions are more effective than her words.
John Malkovich plays as the reluctant horse trainer and an amateur golfer Lucien Laurin. He is comic, casual yet very serious professional and very refreshing. The natural scenes of the Chenery estate look warmer to eyes but it is the filming of horse racing with ease and near-reality that is the highlight of this sport film and in this regards, this, perhaps, is the best horse-racing film.
It was produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures in year 2010 with a run time of 123 minutes. The star cast includes Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh and James Cromwell. The story is based on a novel by the same name written by William Nack. The horse ‘Secretariat’ created a record which remains unchallenged and unparalleled till date.