Off the pace

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH cup­


The Cup ( PG) ★ ★

Di­rec­tor: Si­mon Win­cer ( Phar Lap) Star­ring: Stephen Curry, Brendan Gleeson, Shaun Mi­callef, Daniel Macpher­son Che­quered run, misses the plac­ings WILL the Aus­tralian horse-rac­ing drama The Cup be re­mem­bered as the film that stopped a na­tion?

I wouldn’t bet on it. No mat­ter how juicy the odds on of­fer.

Based on the mov­ing true story of how cham­pion jockey Damien Oliver won the 2002 Mel­bourne Cup, The Cup seems to have po­ten­tial stay­ing power.

Oliver fa­mously pi­loted the Ir­ish thor­ough­bred Me­dia Puz­zle to vic­tory less than a week af­ter his older brother Ja­son died trag­i­cally in a track mishap.

Un­for­tu­nately, The Cup jumps slug­gishly from the bar­ri­ers and finds it­self im­me­di­ately caught up in a ruck of soppy, sim­plis­tic sports-movie cliches.

By the time the film gets a clear run and un­leashes an im­pres­sive fin­ish­ing burst – The Cup ends with a touch­ing re-en­act­ment of Oliver’s salute to the heav­ens af­ter pass­ing the Flem­ing­ton win­ning post – the race to win over view­ers has al­ready been lost.

An en­gag­ing cast, led by Stephen Curry as Oliver, and Brendan Gleeson as Me­dia Puz­zle’s cun­ning Ir­ish trainer Der­mot Weld, do their best to help the film pick up the pace.

Best known for their work on the small screen, Daniel MacPher­son ( play­ing Ja­son Oliver) and Shaun Mi­callef ( as Damien’s key men­tor, trainer Lee Freed­man) ac­quit them­selves cred­itably.

Fans of the late, great Bill Hunter will also ap­pre­ci­ate the act­ing icon’s screen swan­song in a small role as the Cup’s king, Bart Cum­mings.

Long­time devo­tees of Aus­tralian thor­ough­bred horses will not be dis­ap­pointed by the plen­ti­ful sup­ply of authen­tic rac­ing se­quences, which most will agree is the most im­pres­sive as­pect of the film.

How­ever, The Cup re­mains weighed down by a script heavy with corny, over-ex­plana­tory di­a­logue and some un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to lighten the mood with a lit­tle com­edy.

The Cup has cer­tainly been re­leased at the right time to cash in on Spring Rac­ing Car­ni­val fever. But not all pay­ing pun­ters will be pleased with the fi­nal div­i­dend. Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

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