Sundance 2021: Jockey

Clifton Collins Jr. appears in Jockey by Clint Bently, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Adolpho Veloso.

Jockey is a character-driven drama set in the world of horse racing but the film is unlike movies such as Seabiscuit and Secretariat.

Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) is in the last leg of his career as a jockey.  Numerous injuries over the years have taken a toll on his physical health.  And yet, he’s still here facing down the twilight of his career.  For all he knows, this season could be it and like all other jockeys, Jackson wants to go out on top.  Who wouldn’t?  It would give Jackson a legacy to end his career.  Ruth (Molly Parker) gives Jackson the opportunity to do so with a new horse.  And that’s when it happens.  Life takes Jackson in another direction when he meets a young jockey, Gabriel (Moisés Arias).  Jackson insists that he isn’t Gabriel’s father.  Of course, you almost always know how this works out in any feature film!

Behind the camera, Clint Bentley makes his feature directorial debut.  It’s a marvelous film–one that takes full advantage of shooting at a racetrack.  I love the camerawork especially on the track itself.  But still, I can’t get away from the fact that this film is so different from other major films set in the world of horse racing.  The film’s focus is so different from that of Secretariat and Seabiscuit.  Secretariat is the typical Disney fare while also taking somewhat of a departure from history.  Seabiscuit is certainly the best horse racing drama of all time and won’t be beat anytime soon.

At its core, Jockey is a character-driven relationship drama but its so full of heart.  Clifton Collins Jr. delivers an amazing performance.  I only wish I could experience this film with a communal audience.  It plays well on a small screen but it would be great to experience it on the big screen.

I’m from Kentucky so horse racing films will always draw my attention.  It doesn’t matter that this film is set along the west coast.  The very moment I hear horse racing, a film will automatically capture my attention.

Jockey races down the stretch thanks to a strong performance from Clifton Collins Jr.

DIRECTOR:  Clint Bentley
SCREENWRITER:  Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar
CAST:  Clifton Collins Jr., Molly Parker, Moisés Arias

Jockey holds its world premiere during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.