The Dark Horse (2008) Poster

(I) (2008)

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4/10
Not dreadful, but completely disappointing.
reevesal-235-27953823 February 2012
This movie was obviously a labor of love, but is probably only important to the people involved with its creation. Everything always seems only half-developed; the pace of the story is slow and arduous, the characters are neither convincing enough nor likable enough, and nothing engaging or endearing or emotionally gripping enough to keep your interest. Even the horse seems tangential; you learn nothing of dressage and see more of the competition's performance than the pair for which you're supposed to be rooting. The story ends and you're never exactly sure what you're supposed to take away from the movie.The soundtrack also seems to be constantly waffling between genres, between folksy americana and instrumental celtic pieces better suited for sweeping Irish vistas. The one saving grace for the movie is the lovely songs performed by the Wailing Jennys. But overall, unfulfilling and disappointing. Would not recommend.
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6/10
A thoughtful story with gorgeous scenery but, if you are a horse fan, there's limited viewing time for the beautiful creatures, sorry
inkblot1127 February 2014
Dana (Carol Roscoe) was an aspiring ballet dancer who got seriously hurt, ending her dream of appearing on stage. Now, she teaches ballet to an assortment of beginning students in Seattle and lives in a lower rent apartment above a drugstore. There is no man in her life, either. One day, her adult brother calls and summons her home to their childhood farm on Orcas Island, a ferry ride from the Wet City. She goes. Awaiting her are a bevy of problems. Her father is developing Alzheimers, although he has many moments of clarity. Then, her stubborn mother has "credit-carded" the purchase of a beautiful but wild horse she means to tame enough to sell for bigger bucks. So far, the equine is jumpy. Worst of all, the farm is in foreclosure, due to dwindling profits from the orchard and an assortment of other misfortunes. Can Dana help save the family farm? Will she get on a horse, as she swore never to do again, to help tame the animal to showcase for the much-needed money? First, although this film has few stars, it is quite well done. The family dynamics is interesting, to say the least, when it includes a child with autism, a grandpa with Alzheimers, and a sister-in-law who has been involved with both brothers, at various times. One could almost say there are two many problems for one film. On the plus side, the scenery on Orcas Island is terrific, a more rustic but still wildly beautiful than the one shown in the film Lucky Seven, which was also set on Orcas. Also, the flick's horses are truly lovely, too, but there is not an abundance of screen time devoted to them. Horse fans, therefore, may be somewhat disappointed. Nevertheless, those seeking something quieter and more thoughtful than the usual Tinseltown fare will be rewarded when bringing this one home.
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1/10
One of the worst movies I have ever seen
uakjones-122 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This was supposed to be a horse movie, but it was't. This was supposed to be a family movie, but it wasn't. Based on the cover it was supposed to be uplifting and inspiring, but it really wasn't. What it was instead is extremely long, extremely boring, extremely unattractive people having a whole bunch of badly and oh so slowly explained family drama. The film is about 120 minutes, out of which the horse is shown for about 20, and really does nothing. The rest is about a family that is unhappy and doesn't get along the whole time. The fact that this drama is about a family does NOT make this a family movie! The characters are not relatable. The brothers don't talk to each other, the daughter has issues with the mother, the father has dementia. The only good thing about the movie is that it eventually ends. No, the ending itself is not good either. The family tries everything to save the farm, but then, they can't. I only wish the producers would have had the same success making this movie.
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3/10
Not what the official plot reads
Astanax Knight1 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
My wife loves Friesian horses and dressage competition. So I went to a particular rental kiosk that seems to be so popular and found this movie for rent. The official plot was that a Ballet teacher from Seattle goes to Orcas Island in Washington State to win a dressage competition with a Friesian horse. This is supposed to save the farm, and I rented the movie believing that this was the whole basis of the film.

The characters in the beginning were cold, and the only likable character was the father with dementia. There was a lot of drama in the beginning with family members not talking to each other. I didn't mind a little back story, but got this solely as a horse movie. It wasn't that. Instead, there were a lot of out of place songs with out of place stock footage of nature scenes and a painfully slow storyline that dealt more with family issues than about a Friesian horse plot that takes up only a fourth of the movie's plot.

The plot centers more around a father whom has dementia and his grown kids come to their farm to find out that he owes back taxes for his wife's father's farm. The wife solely believes that the "wild Friesian" that she bought could be trained and rode in the dressage competition, while the dementia suffering husband believes he can save the farm with his invention that he works on throughout most of the movie. That plot about the Friesian horse was short lived, but if I heard right, the name of the farm was "Dark Horse Farms" during the announcing of the Ballet teacher.

This is not a particularly heart warming story. The plot ends at the family moving away from their farm, but at the end, as the horses and farm are sold, the family has mended broken ties. In seeing the scene of the husband with dementia kissing and loving his wife near the end, whom they talked about their marriage was "for better or worse", and about how they would never leave each other, I found it touching the heart of my wife and myself, whom mirror that husband and wife in the story. That was about the only heartwarming thing in the entire movie.
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8/10
A story of a family reuniting against all the odds. Not about horses.
zendatrim16 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I really enjoyed this movie. It was really quite sad i couldn't imagine having to deal with someone i loved who was suffering with Alzheimers and the struggles they face.

This wasnt a rubbish movie it was a thoughtful movie about a family in conflict.

From the daughter to the brothers each of them having their own issues to cope with in coming back home to help with their fathers illness which dragged up a lot of old wounds. However, going through it all again and facing the loss of their parents farm they all learnt to find peace again with each other, and Carol Roscoe who played Dana finally forgave her mother for past hurts and faced her fears of riding again.

I really found it quite sad and touching. Yes there was a story about a horse but it wasnt what the movie was about. The movie was about loss of oneself and coming to terms to life long challenges of dealing with a horrible disease like Alzheimers and the consequences of it and also of having a child with autism and how the two related to each other. I found the scenes with the boy and the grandfather very touching.

I liked the ending it was the right one.

Not sure what-every one else was watching. My daughter told me to watch this so that's 2 people who thoroughly enjoyed it.

The horse was truly magnificent wouldnt I love one of them.
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5/10
I bought the video (on sale)
lynnealarson7 March 2013
The real reason I purchased this movie was because of its setting - in the San Juan Islands and east of Seattle. I admit to being homesick! This is not really a "horse" movie and really doesn't spend any time on dressage. It is, rather, a story of family interaction. I thought, unlike other reviewers, that the cast did pretty well with the sketchy material they were given. It didn't bother me that everyone was "unlovable" - I thought they were rather interesting as they were. They reminded me a bit of my family, for good or bad. However, the pace of the movie was very slow, and I felt we could have gotten to know the characters a lot better in 2 hours.
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1/10
A Poorly Written Soap Opera
rnussle11 June 2012
I really found nothing to like about the movie. We had better actors in my high school drama class. I am not a horse person per se, however I do love horses and ride whenever I have the opportunity. I suppose this flick was meant to be a paean to our equine friends, however this clumsily handled production left me so cold I wouldn't have been bothered if the herd was sent to the glue factory. And the beginning with the ballet class, what was that all about? The actress playing the role of Dana the ballet instructor was not credible as she had neither the carriage nor grace of someone who studied ballet past third grade. In all honesty I popped out the DVD halfway through and was resentful that I paid $1.20 to rent it.
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