Jockey didn’t make my most anticipated list of Sundance, because frankly, horse movies usually depress me. The horse always gets injured or dies or gets injured and then dies and who amongst us really needs that kind of heartbreak right now?
Well shame on me for judging
In a surprising turn, I don’t even really remember much about a horse in Jockey. I mean, there definitely is a horse and there is definitely horse racing but the tragedy is wrapped up in the self-destructive addiction to a profession, which he believes gives him purpose. In so many ways it’s reminiscent of Sound of Metal, in that you’ll be tightly clenching your teeth and yelling “JUST STOP” with exasperation, for most of the film.
A bit more about Jockey from the festival program
Seasoned horse jockey Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) has weathered decades of races on the riding circuit, but he now finds himself facing what could be his last season as his health deteriorates. With the help of Ruth (Molly Parker) and a promising new horse, Jackson starts to prepare for the upcoming championship. His plans take a left turn when a budding young jockey (Moisés Arias) shows up and claims to be his son. Caught between yearning for a connection and uncertainty about his own future, Jackson confronts difficult questions regarding his legacy.
Shot at a live racetrack and with a keen eye for veracity, Jockey gives us an achingly personal window into a world we’ve never seen up close before, where fortunes are flipped upside down from one moment to the next and the freedom of riding comes at a grueling physical price. Collins delivers an intimately layered performance guided by director Clint Bentley, whose own experiences imbue authenticity and naturalism into this moving portrait of a sport unlike any other.
Clifton Collins Jr. undoubtedly gives an outstanding performance that earned him the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Actor. Personally, I thought that Moisés Arias’ (who you might remember as the best part of Five Feet Apart) performance was really great, as well.
About the interview with the cast from Jockey
We had a link to a panel conversation following the movie, which usually are the cast on a ZOOM link with a moderator asking questions. It was 8pm, so I jumped up to put our kiddos to bed and Rob decided to pop in to check out the conversation (from bed, in his nighty shirt). When I came back 20 minutes later, Rob was nowhere to be found. He did emerge finally from the basement (after I had dealt with 30 minutes of the kids demanding water and snacks and other absurd things). The story goes, that when Rob joined the ZOOM, he was one of 4 other press members and Clifton asked why “this Rob Jarosinski guy wasn’t joining on the video.” Which triggered a frantic search for a hat and a race to the basement to plug in and record.
So please enjoy this unique episode with Clifton Collins Jr., Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar!
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