American cinema is full of films about former sports stars who are now old and near the end of their careers. The best days are behind them, whether you want to admit it or not, but the main characters of these films seem to be persistently trying to deceive others and themselves and prove that they are still capable of top results. We used to watch boxers in such situations, maybe basketball players, rugby players or baseball players, and somehow the logical choice for Clint Bentley’s feature debutant was one such story about a jockey. Bentley grew up on a horse race track, and his father was a jockey, so the man must be very familiar with all the secrets of the sport.
A typical such character at the end of his career in a film simply called “Jockey” is Jackson Silva (Cliffton Collins Jr.), a horse racer who is immediately clear to us that he is at sunset. I guess a man has broken all the bones in his body countless times and it is immediately clear to us that this is a physically extremely hard and demanding job, but which top sport is not? Jackson’s body is betraying itself faster and faster, and he still doesn’t mind giving up racing and works for longtime friend and horse trainer Ruth (Molly Parker). The dynamics in the relationship will change when 19-year-old jockey Gabriel (Moises Arias) appears who claims Jackson is his father. Gabriel sees a role model in Jackson, but he doesn’t want to be a role model to anyone and is still getting used to the role of father, and son and dad will soon become both rivals and rivals on the racetrack.
It reminded me of “Jockey” a bit like the recent “The Rider” by Chloe Zhao about a badly injured rodeo rider. Here, too, everything seems extremely realistic, and it seems to me that with a few professionals for the lead roles, Bentley has hired naturalists for the rest of the cast who are really into the business. Stylistically and thematically, it is a bit like the low-budget films that Clint Eastwood once made, even Malick’s epic naturalism because we have shots of nature, horses riding at dusk, streams gurgling and the like. “Jockey” may not have been a film to be remembered for a long time, but Bentley made a quality modern American, a typical American film about people with big dreams and ideas who will have to come to terms with their fate and accept that the best days are behind them. rating 7/10.
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