While "Secretariat" won't win any awards for being
100% faithful to the story of Big Red and his owners, "Secretariat"
manages to be powerful, corny, moving and just down right
entertaining. "Secretariat" is from the old fashioned school
of filmmaking where you actually get to root for the underdogs
and see them win. "Secretariat" much like the horse himself
comes from behind at full speed and wins strictly on its
speed, stamina and charm. ***
Big Red (his real name)came from a family of winners
but winners who had speed but not stamina. When housewife
Penny Chenery (Diane Lane)inherits her Meadow's Stables
from her ailing father (Scott Glenn)she faces challenges
immediately; Meadow's Stables is stumbling financially.
She sticks to her decision against the wishes of her brother
(Dylan Baker) and her husband (Dylan Walsh)to raise and
race Big Red. She knows however that she needs a trainer
as hungry to win as she is and picks Lucien Laurin (John
Malkovich)who must overcome his own issues to successful
train Big Red to go all the way to the Triple Crown. ***
Directed by Randall Wallace (writer of "Braveheart"
and director of "We Were Soldiers" and "The Man in the Iron
Mask")"Secretariat" races by compressing the true story
into an exciting two hours. Wallace gets the details of
the 60's and early 70's right and the performances are all
authentic feeling without any showiness. Director Wallace
nicely captures the action particularly during the races
themselves using point-of-view shots from a camera on the
helmet of the jockey which puts you IN the race itself.
While the characters could have had a bit more depth the
story really isn't just about the Cherney family and their
struggle but about the unique and talented horse himself.
Image & Sound:
The Blu-ray looks quite nice in its Blu-ray debut.
Colors pop and the distinctive look of the film (which tries
to capture the "look" of films from the late 60's and early
70's) is nicely captured in a very good Blu-ray transfer.
The use of DNR is a bit heavy handed in my opinion particularly
to smooth out some of the lines on Diane Lane's face which
results in some loss of skin texture but, over all, the
film looks pretty good. The film has nice detail and depth.
Audio wins the race with a rich, detailed and very active
Lossless 5.1 mix. ---