Lizzie

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Inspired by the real life story of Lizzie Borden, who was accused and then acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie is a tense psychological drama that puts its own spin on what drives someone to commit murder and it’s own turn on whether or not it believes Lizzie was innocent or guilty.

It is 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts and Lizzie Borden( Chloë Sevigny) is a woman living under the tyrannical eye of her penny pinching father Andrew( Jamey Sheridan). She’s an independent woman who is different from the subservient kind of lady that was expected at the time and one who in subdued but defiant fashion, scoffs at the system around her. Lizzie also experiences violent seizures, which her father believes is a form of attention seeking. She’s not helped by her stepmother Abby( Fiona Shaw), and her sister is Emma( Kim Dickens) sweet but unable to stand up to. Lizzie is locked in a constant war with her father, with the threat of being sent away to an institution always hanging over her. Into the gloomy household comes the innocent Irish maid Bridget( Kristen Stewart). She’s a bit naive, illiterate and just trying to get along in life with what she’s got. takes a sickening liking to her and starts to visit her room nightly so he can sexually abuse her. Bridget is too terrified of losing her job that she doesn’t tell anyone, but Lizzie finds out. She also discovers that her father has been scheming with her nasty uncle John(Denis O’Hare) something dishonest and underhand about inheritance. Both things infuriate Lizzie and her independence in life and further cause tension with her horrible father. Growing closer to Bridget, the two women form a romantic relationship. It proves to be a solace from the grimness of their lives, but soon discovers it.Soon things reach a head for everyone which results in gruesome death and a trial that involves all.

Craig William Macneill ably directs this film with a keen sense for atmosphere and content. His concentration is largely on the accused Lizzie Borden and her fiery independence in the face of restrictive times that were governed by the patriarchy. His. keeps events very on edge, making the slightest of changes or events matter in the grand scheme of things. Macneill employs an almost unbearable level of tension within the confines of a household; eliciting a claustrophobic aura that transfers to the viewer. Unlike other movies about murders that are still debated and explored, Lizzie takes the side of the allegedly murderous Borden and unravels what might have drove her to commit the crimes she was charged with and then acquitted of. It sets off the dark family angle; all stifled emotions and the overarching tyrant of a father desperate to exert control over the largely female household. Lighting is a key element of Lizzie; either blindingly bright in a beautiful manner(for when Lizzie and Bridget find passionate escape from life) or for the most part shadowy and within the confines of an austere home where emotions struggle to stay under wraps. An up close camera that often lingers on faces and events, while occasionally becoming unrestrained, is employed to capture the burning desire to break free that Lizzie has and how both she and are hemmed in by a society that believes it’s already chosen their destiny. There’s nary a wasted shot in the film and that’s down to the and the cinematography of Noah Greenberg, who are very in sync with what they want from this project. The music, with its high peaks of near horror influenced strings and pulses, keeps things on a knife edge as the day of blood beckons.

Chloë Sevigny is a force of nature as the eponymous Lizzie. She bristles with stoic anger and has an unblinking quality that sets the screen alight. Sevigny has long been an actress I’ve admired and she once more provides compelling viewing with a forceful portrayal of a woman trapped in a time that doesn’t fit and slowly taking devastating action against it. In short, Sevigny is magnetic as Lizzie; discovering a smart woman whose bullied and abused but not above fighting back against it, ultimately in brutal fashion. The ever watchable Kristen Stewart, who for me has matured a lot as an actress over the last few years, is equally as compelling as her eventual lover. There’s a quietness to Stewart here that’s none the less intense and waiting to be unleashed, as her green outlook is changed and she finds strength within herself thanks to Lizzie. Both ladies have a palpable chemistry that provides the centre of the narrative and truly the main respite for these two women. Kudos to both Sevigny and Stewart for creating such a believable bond. Jamey Sheridan is ideally cast as the powerful, grasping and completely wretched father, who seems to delight in exerting his male dominance over others. It’s a credit to Sheridan that you feel the revulsion shared by Lizzie and Bridget for this man, as he’s just that get at getting under your skin as a completely snake and fraud. And Denis O’Hare, who is one of the most underrated actors out there, sinks his teeth into the part of the poisonous uncle with malice in every fibre of his being. Fiona Shaw manages to be both seemingly vindictive and alternately switched on to events around her; with just a look, we know exactly what she’s thinking.Kim Dickens isn’t really given much to work with but is pleasant enough in her small role.

A chilling yet eye opening drama with an emphasis on the psychological and fine acting, Lizzie is a fresh spin on the infamous murders that finds its fascination with events behind the scenes and their devastating impact.

 

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Carve Her Name with Pride

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I was kindly asked by Maddy and Jay to take part in a blogathon surround World War II in film. I chose the film Carve Her Name with Pride to highlight.

Based on the true story of Violette Szabo, an SOE agent in World War II who parachuted behind enemy lines and was eventually captured and executed by the Nazi’s( and then received a posthumous George Cross for her bravery), Carve Her Name with Pride is a well directed tribute to the bravery of this woman in wartime.

Early in the Second World War, spirited Violette Bushell is living in London. Her father is English and her mother is French, which accounts for her language skills. One day she meets French Army officer Etienne Szabo and the two quickly fall in love. After marrying, Violette discovers she’s pregnant, but Etienne is called back up to serve in North Africa. Tragically, Violette receives word that Etienne was killed in battle a few months later. She is devastated by the death of her beloved who never had the chance to see his daughter Tania. After his death, she shuts off as a way to deal with her grief. When she returns to life again, something unexpected lies waiting for her. To her surprise, she is asked to join the SOE to help the war effort. Due to her athleticism and bilingual skills, she’s an ideal candidate. Although apprehensive at first,  Violette accepts out of a sense of duty. She is trained in the art of espionage and though makes mistakes at first, shows her mettle and willingness to learn. Soon enough, she’s one of the finest recruits and ready for a mission. Her first mission in Occupied France is successful as she makes contact with the remaining members of Resistance loyal to the SOE and helps persuade one to blow up an important viaduct. Along the way, she becomes close with fellow agent Tony Fraser and opens up a bit more. It’s her second and last mission mission that proves to be fatal and tragic, though she refuses to give up any information to the enemy right up until her death.

Lewis Gilbert crafts Carve Her Name with Pride with unobtrusive skill and salutes the bravery of this woman and her strength for her country. As a film, it doesn’t over sensationalise events, rather presents them in serious but absorbing detail in a way that’s dignified and convincing. Foreshadowing is heavily present throughout with various lines of dialogue gaining more relevance as Carve Her Name with Pride continues. The first hour provides the build up to the first mission with the main events that lead to Violette joining by showing events in a brisk and economical fashion, without feeling too quick or too slow. Gilbert’s on form is bringing the foreshadowing of what’s to come and truly comes alive once the missions start. We glimpse how dangerous being a spy is and the moral dilemma of Violette in knowing that every minute could be her last . This helps it build to a powerful climax that’s hard to agass from your thoughts. The black and white presents events with a certain realism that’s pretty impressive and never loses sight of the serious dangers involved in spying and Violette’s immense dedication. As we know the eventual fate of the main character, a level of gloom is apparent. But it never overshadows things and makes them constantly miserable, rather it is more inspiring to watch someone do something to help their country in its time of need. An emotive score highlights the ups and downs of War and how events can take sharp turning points for those trying to help.

The ace in the hole is Virginia McKenna as Violette; she’s simply wonderful in the part. Getting across the gumption, selflessness, toughness and vulnerability, McKenna shines with her moving delivery and authentic honesty. It’s hard to picture someone else playing Szabo quite as accomplished as Virginia McKenna does or with the same blend of warmth and determination. She’s simply that good and embodies the British way of doing things in a quiet and dignified manner but making one hell of an impact. Paul Scofield compliments her as the agent who knows when to switch off emotions but still retain some level of heart. He’s nicely paired with McKenna and works splendidly and with ease beside her. Jack Warner and Denise Grey have small but nicely judged parts as the parents of Violette, who become concerned at their daughter’s secrecy. Look out for a small but funny role from Bill Owen as one of the training officers who begrudgingly acknowledges the talent of Violette. The biggest highlight though is Virginia McKenna, who is simply unforgettable.

A sober, extremely well mounted and acted war drama that truly honours its subject thanks to Lewis Gilbert’s nuanced direction and Virginia McKenna’s beautiful performance, Carve Her Name with Pride is an excellent tribute to the strength and sacrifice of one very brave woman.

Fire in the Sky

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Inspired by the alleged alien abduction of Travis Walton, Fire in the Sky paints a mysterious yet very deep story of the impact of truth and whether people believe what is deemed extraordinary. Whether you believe the story or not, this film is bound to have an effect on you.

It is 1975 in Snowflake, Arizona and happy go lucky logger Travis Walton( D.B. Sweeney) has just started working on a job in the White Mountains. He is on the team headed by his more serious friend and future brother in law Mike Rogers, who is the kind of man who tries to keep everything running smoothly in life. Then there is the rest of the group; hot-headed troublemaker Allan Dallis( Craig Sheffer) , trustworthy and religious David Whitlock( Peter Berg) and jokers, Greg Hayes(Henry Thomas) and Bobby Cogdill( Bradley Gregg) . On the night of November 5th, they are travelling in their truck back home when they see a brilliant red light in the distance. Curious, they go to look at it and here is where events get sinister. They come across what looks like an alien spaceship, though they can’t be sure. Travis gets out to examine it and is struck by a light. Fearing him dead as he doesn’t move, the team in terror leaves. Later on, Mike returns to look for Travis but there is no sign of him. Returning to their town, they relay what they saw to the local police officer. The arrival of seasoned detective Lt. Frank Watters( James Garner) coincides with the investigation as he digs into the story. At first he doesn’t believe their tale and believes there has been foul play involved. The townsfolk get wind of events and most people are highly skeptical of what transpired. Yet when after five days, Travis turns up, disorientated and traumatised, it leaves things wide open for interpretation. Especially when he ‘remembers’ what happened to him, much to the shock of others.

Robert Lieberman is at the helm of this film and he effortlessly infuses it with a sense of time and place. He contributes a very human touch to what many will say is fiction by not going overboard with the alien aspects, keeping a certain sense of realism to things that many may sniff at. Fire in the Sky lets you make your mind up on whether the extraterrestrial encounter took place or not. It edges towards believing Walton’s claims, yet leaves a welcome ambiguity and mystery to it. What’s most impressive about Fire in the Sky is how it doesn’t go for an over sensationalised angle and instead concentrates on the pain of losing a friend and how it sends shockwaves through an uneventful small town. The film is pretty character driven, particularly by and is all the more human for it. Naturally, it has filmic elements to add to the story( which I’ll speak about later that are effectively used), and that’s what makes Fire in the Sky a strange beast. It’s a film about s science fiction subject that’s played entirely straight. Now it’s not flawless by any means( I find some parts of it don’t add up and the denouement could have been stronger), but for my money, Fire in the Sky is a very underrated movie that’s worth your time.

And when it gets to the scenes of what what happened to Travis, horrifying is taken up several notches as we witness the torture and dehumanisation of this man. Shot like a chilling horror movie, it’s a scene that genuinely makes you uncomfortable and disturbed. Many will claim that these sequences embrace science fiction too much, but I think it’s just following the story as Walton told it with an obvious bit of elaboration for the movie to chill you. And that’s not a criticism, I mean don’t all movies based on real life take some different avenues in the name of entertainment? If anything, it’s one of the best scenes in the film in terms of what it presents and just how scary it makes it. Up until that point, there has been definitely strange but these sequences that come later on in Fire in the Sky really go for the jugular. The music by Mark Isham, strikes the right chords of emotion, fear and when needed terror, to create something that plays along to the movie’s strength.

The cast assembled here is a very good one that add a lot to the film. D. B. Sweeney, with his likeable face and jovial manner is ideal for the part of the dreamer whose suddenly taken. It’s impressive because his appearance in the film is mainly in the first quarter and then the last parts, the rest of the time focuses on the other characters related to him. Sweeney manages to make Walton a full character in the time he’s on screen with just the right amount of sympathy and belief, especially after his traumatic experience which is where Sweeney really shines. Robert Patrick is given the most material and boy does he act his socks off. Embodying determination, a head full of guilt and being the boss in life, Patrick explores excellently by giving him layers and making him very relatable. It’s stellar acting from Patrick as the heart of the story. Craig Sheffer, Peter Berg, Henry Thomas and Bradley Gregg flesh out the other members of the team, with particularly good skill from Sheffer as the belligerent member and Berg as the one who tries to smooth everything into a positive. James Garner is a huge plus to the cast and he’s obviously relishing the role of old school lieutenant. Still bearing that twinkle in his eye and wit that balances with notes of grim seriousness, Garner is superb.

Involving, emotional and by turns very creepy, Fire in the Sky is an intriguing film that I think deserves a bigger audience, especially for its acting and aforementioned revelations. I think many will enjoy the mystery and very human drama within Fire in the Sky.

Jurassic Park

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The delightful duo of Gill and Emma invited me to take part in a tribute to the excellent Jeff Goldblum. I’ve always been a fan of his and enjoy whenever he graces the screen. I decided to review the adventure blockbuster that is Jurassic Park.

A full on thrill ride with eye popping effects and Steven Spielberg at some of his best, Jurassic Park is an ageless spectacle with the power to shock, scare and entrance from start to finish.

Dr Alan Grant( Sam Neill), who specialises in Paleontology and Dr Ellie Sattler(Laura Dern), whose field is Paleobotany are romantically linked and currently working on another dig of dinosaur fossils .One day to their Montana dog comes eccentric billionaire John Hammond( Richard Attenborough) who has a proposition for them. He has created a theme park off the coast of Costa Rica which is inhabited by cloned dinosaurs, which his team of scientists managed to create after extensive DNA testing and sampling. Hammond is worried because there have been doubts about the safety of the park and he wants Alan and Ellie to view it and give their opinions. Naturally, they accept the offer and are joined by mathematician and chaos theory nut Ian Malcolm( Jeff Goldblum). Also visiting are Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex( Ariana Richards) and Tim( Joseph Mazzello), who are more than curious about the park. Upon arrival, Alan, Ellie, Ian and the kids are bowled over by the cloned dinosaurs that have been brought to life and in the flesh. And though some of the group have their doubts about how ethical it all is, Hammond’s enthusiasm remains undimmed. Yet all of this will change as danger lurks right around the corner. A disgruntled worker by the name of Dennis(Wayne Knight) has accepted a shady offer to smuggle out dinosaur embryos to a competitor. To do this, he sneakily shuts down the security of the park in order to disguise his theft and leave undetected . The shutdown causes all power to go out but more dangerously, the electric fences that guard the dinosaurs open, setting the scene for chaos as the many carnivorous creatures go on the hunt with humans as their prized dinner. Alan ends up sheltering the terrified kids, while Ellie, Ian, Hammond, plus game warden Robert Muldoon( Bob Peck) and chief engineer Ray Arnold( Samuel L. Jackson) , attempt to restart the power and avert more horror. It’s up to the survivors to make it through the park and to safety before they end up on the menu.

Jurassic Park finds Steven Spielberg at some of his most fun and skilled. He displays sense of wonder at seeing these prehistoric beasts and then cranks the tension up when all hell breaks loose. He knows how to entertain and keep you on the edge of your seat throughout this adventure with sequences of immense excitement and haunting terror existing right after the other. Simply put, it’s one of his best movies which is saying something considering the excellence in his filmography over the years. Memorable scenes abound like the first glimpse of the towering , the terrifying encounter with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the nasty Velociraptors menacing Ellie in the maintenance shed as she switches the circuit breakers on and the children in the kitchen narrowly escaping being attacked. Many of these moments hold that balance between scary and exhilarating. I like the look at how playing God never ends up well, but it sure can be extremely entertaining to watch. There’s the greedy Dennis getting his comeuppance when attacked by an initially friendly dinosaur reveals itself to be bloodthirsty, Hammond’s growing realisation of what he has created and the chaos that ensues once the prehistoric creatures are let loose. One can’t speak about this movie without mentioning the influential special effects in it. They make the dinosaurs feel so real as if you could reach out and touch them. I mean, we all remember the first time we, like an awe-struck Ellie, witnessed the Brachiosaurus in all its glory, right? Or the first attack of the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex on the visitors at nighttime? The blend of the then new CGI and animatronics is seamless in execution and so thoroughly convincing at bringing these ancient creatures to jaw-dropping. John Williams is on hand with one of his most suspenseful and alive scores; charting the wonder of the park then plunging us into the terror of fighting for survival against hungry dinosaurs.

Sam Neill has the laconic attitude right for his role, while shading it with a winning curiosity and eventual mellowing of his character’s occasional dour and solemn nature. In fact, he’s  one of the main heroes of the piece as he’s entrusted with two young children to protect against creatures he knows a lot about. Laura Dern backs him up with intelligence and when it’s called for action; her run to the shed and ordeal inside leave you on the edge of your seat as you watch an ordinary woman fighting against a terrifying situation. And of course the man of the hour and resident scene stealer is here by the name of Jeff Goldblum. Portraying the know it all mathematician who drops sarcastic yet ethical  questions, Goldblum is a hoot. And considering for a big chunk of the film he’s incapacitated, he’s still dispensing entertaining one liners among the terror and excitement. It’s the definition of a star supporting turn. In a fine showcase, Richard Attenborough subtly shows the dreams of an eccentric man of money and his realisation that it isn’t the most ideal or safe thing to do. Although his actions are questionable, he just boasts a certain geniality that is hard to fault. Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello are thankfully talented child actors who you feel for on this journey. Fine work also comes from Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Peck and Wayne Knight in this adventure, particularly from Jackson as the gruff chief engineer who is never seen without a cigarette.

A simply phenomenal adventure with stellar effects, fine cast, wonderful music and the masterful Spielberg at the helm, Jurassic Park is a film you can never grow tired of.

Yesterday

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Danny Boyle directs this warmly engaging tribute to the Beatles and the journey of love in a film that’s inviting without being cloying. Yesterday is the definition of a feel good movie.

Jack Malik(Himesh Patel) is a struggling young man whose passion is singing but whose never had success. He’s beginning to see that it might be the end of the road in Lowestoft as he’s not amounted to much. His best friend and manager Ellie( Lily James) attempts to sway him into not forgoing his dreams as she believes in him. This is coupled with the fact that she is desperately in love with him, though Jack has never noticed it. He is on the verge of giving up when something unusual happens. He’s riding home on his bike one night when a global power cut ensues and coincides with him being hit by a bus. Thankfully, he lives and though injured will recover. But once he comes around, Jack notices one strange fact about the world around him: no one remembers The Beatles. At first, Jack things it’s a bit of a joke but a few searches online reveal that all knowledge of them has been wiped. This in turn has led to other things not being remembered but the big one is the iconic Beatles. Jack starts to sing their music as if it’s his own to bring it the attention it deserves. This backfires as people assume he has written these classic songs and he starts to become successful. Even Ed Sheeran is impressed and his manager Debra(Kate McKinnon), who worships at the altar of greed and business, snaps Jack up. Soon he’s famous for singing these songs, but struggling with his own feelings of guilt that started off  as him trying to be good. Yet just how much longer  can Jack live a lie? And what of his relationship with Ellie, who obviously loves him?

Though it isn’t the first film to come to mind when I think of Danny Boyle’s directing, Yesterday shows him in mellow but touching mood. His eye for detail is very much on show with canted angles to signify the world being upside down for Jack and some pretty groovy transitions. Thinking on it, of late the underdog story has featured in Boyle’s films, only this time there’s a lot more laughs that show the director having fun. It’s aided by a winning script by Richard Curtis that mixes sarcastic humour and life-affirming love. Curtis often features lovable losers in unusual circumstances or being tested and Jack is no exception. The observations of what might have been without The Beatles are both funny and reflective, particularly in the last third where things get somewhat poignant. There’s a what if angle to a lot of Yesterday that’s delightfully daffy yet retains an emotional impact. And there’s a neat little unexpected twist that is very intriguing not to mention surprising. But because I’m a good guy, I shall not spoil it. Yesterday is t perfect and some areas seem overly familiar, but from an overall viewpoint, it’s a very nice experience and one that will leave you smiling.  Hearing the music of The Beatles is always welcome to my ears and hearing them performed with zeal and resonance in Yesterday is splendid. And I can’t not mention the romance of this film, which is tentative at first but eventually blooms as Jack realises just how important and loyal Ellie is to him.

Himesh Patel, who is best known for starring in Eastenders, is superb in the lead role of sympathetic Jack. Though his actions get him in trouble, he’s a character who tries to do the best and Patel brings that out of the part with a combo of subtlety and comedy. I hope to see in more movies as he’s really got potential as an actor. And I can’t forget his singing, which is also worthy for praise. Alongside him is the luscious Lily James, who is steadily becoming a very reliable actress. Her quirky mannerisms, winning smile and downright adorable nature are on full display for a lovely performance. You can’t help but fall in love with Lily James here. Ed Sheeran shows he’s not afraid to parody himself with a tongue in cheek role as a version of himself. I must say he does elicit quite a few laughs. Speaking of laughs, Joel Fry contributes fine humour as Jack’s right hand man whose not the brightest person, but who’s goofy heart is very much in the right place. On the other scale of laughs is Kate McKinnon who is simultaneously a ruthless bitch after money and an unhinged hoot The balancing act is effectively walked by McKinnon who is obviously revelling in being devious.

Capitalising on a strange but impressive premise and directed with skill by Danny Boyle, Yesterday is a charming, thoroughly enjoyable film, enlivened by the music of the Beatles and work of Himesh Patel and Lily James.

The Black Stallion

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A captivating story of a boy and his horse, The Black Stallion is a delight for the whole family. Blessed with a sublime cinematography, love for nature and understated performance, it’s simply irresistible to all the family.

It’s 1946 and young Alec Ramsey(Kelly Reno) is sailing with his father on a boat off the East Coast of Africa. While onboard, Alec discovers an black Arabian Stallion that he becomes intrigued by. Though warned to stay away by the fearsome owner, Alec refuses to. Later that night, a violent storm hits the ship, throwing Alec and the horse overboard. They are the only survivors from the storm as Alec manages to pull on the ropes around the horse. When he awakens, he is on a deserted island. Armed with the penknife his later father gave him and resourcefulness, he learns to survive. The horse also made it to the island at first, both keep a distance from each other. Over time, however Alec wins the horse over gives the horse the name The Black. They become inseparable from that moment on as a bond is solidified. Eventually, Alec is rescued and makes sure The Black comes with him. Back home, Alec’s mother( Teri Garr) is overjoyed to see him but doesn’t quite understand the bond between her son and his horse. Alec comes across old horse trainer Henry Dailey( Mickey Rooney) accidentally when The Black runs away. Henry hasn’t raced in years but you can sense he feels a bit of regret and nostalgia creeping his way once he finds The Black. Following a bit of hostility between them, Alec and Henry become friends and Henry rekindles his love of horses with a dream of racing The Black. After a few mishaps and hurdles,  Alec and Henry enter to the horse into the race and hope for success with what they truly believe is not just a horse, but a supremely special one.

Director Carroll Ballard is the perfect choice to direct this heartwarming adventure. His love for nature and the relationships humans share with the animal kingdom are splendidly evoked. Some could write the movie off as as sickly as too much sugar, yet Ballard knows how to keep us invested without resorting to overt sentimentality. Aided by the arresting cinematography of Caleb Deschanel and vivid camerawork, the friendship at the core of The Black Stallion comes to life. The main sections on the island are largely wordless and though that might sound boring to some viewers, it certainly isn’t the case. The unspoken bond between Alec and the horse is observed with nuance and eventual trust; much like a friendship between humans. We watch as Alec wins the horse over and the horse comes to respect him and it’s very beautifully portrayed. The childlike sense of wonder and excitement is imbued within the DNA of The Black Stallion and it definitely pleases the crowd with this touch. And though many may see where the story is heading when he returns to land, they will no doubt be impressed by the eventual outcome and how things play out to a rousing and joyous finale. It’s a movie with a heart that’s sole goal is to be inspiring and for the whole family, and on that score alone it’s a winner. Carmine Coppola contributes an eclectic score that mixes Middle Eastern percussion and a soaring orchestral feel that is truly a thing of beauty. It imprints itself on your mind and is just beautifully orchestrated with obvious craftsmanship and phenomenal skill at arousing emotion.

Young Kelly Reno is full of life and wonder as the freckle-faced Alec. He’s ideal casting for the role and a genuinely convincing child actor that isn’t cloying or prone to overly annoying child acting. Mickey Rooney has fun as the slightly grouchy but brought back to life horse trainer, discovering what he’s missed for so long. Rooney is subtle yet sparkling with revived energy; both are exactly the notes he needs to star here. Just like the horse, he splendidly compliments Reno as the two things that mean the most to him. Teri Garr makes the most of her small part as Alec’s mother who doesn’t quite understand his link to the horse but comes around to the idea in a way only a mother could. Hoyt Axton is here in a brief role of father and given that he’s not on screen for long, he nails the part of adventurous dad that we miss when he’s gone. The two biggest stars however are Kelly Reno and the horse; they form the beating heart of The Black Stallion.

An outstanding, life-affirming and gentle film that knows how to touch the heart with its story, acting and cinematography, The Black Stallion is a champion.