Movie review: Documentary 'Dark Horse' tells an inspirational working-class tale

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

"He was a working-class horse who was about to take on the likes of the best. That was the dream."

The very concept of a "working-class horse" may seem odd, but it's the story at the heart of the documentary "Dark Horse."

About a decade ago, in a former mining village in Wales, a group of friends decided to make an unlikely entry into the "sport of kings" and buy a racehorse.

The story of that horse is one of ups and downs, although you may guess by the fact there's a documentary here that it's ultimately an uplifting one.

And "Dark Horse" is certainly uplifting. It's told almost exclusively through interviews with the owners of the horse, and they are delightful and earnest and deeply Welsh.

While this telling is quite endearing, it sometimes comes at the expense of the clarity of the narrative, and there's a wild story to be told here. At times, we almost could use a narrator.

I suppose it's also worth mentioning for non-Anglophiles that there's that thrust of UK-isms that may require translations. For example, when the horse wins an early race, one interviewee describes the crowd as "gob-struck."

It's sweet, earnest and family-friendly, but "Dark Horse" just didn't manage to compel me quite as much as I thought it would.

"Dark Horse"

Opens Friday

2 ½ stars