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DVD ~ Ian Holm
2 used & new from $97.00

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SHERGAR -- compelling story, performances and scenery, June 20, 2007
This review is from: Shergar (DVD)
Recently I picked up a DVD of the 1999 movie SHERGAR because it starred Ian Holm and David Warner, two of my favorites, and because as a life-long horse owner, breeder and trainer, I am a sucker for horseflicks. Holm and Warner both had plenty of scenery to chew on, so they did not disappoint, and neither did the movie. I cried buckets at the end. All in all, I think the filmmakers did a good job. There were some painfully Disney-esque moments, but for the most part, the filmmakers practiced reasonable restraint and avoided the gagging-smarm-factor. The location shooting (Isle of Mann) was spectacular.

The ad copy said "Based on a True Story" and I suppose technically that is true. There was a great Irish racehorse named Shergar, and he was kidnapped by the IRA in 1983. What happened after that was completely unknown, until fairly recent (2003) new evidense. Since the kidnapping takes maybe the first 2-3 minutes of the movie, the rest of the movie is completely fictional conjecture. Nonetheless, the filmmakers did an admirable job of creating a compelling (albeit totally fictional) story, with elements of Greek tragedy and bringing to mind Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I was inspired by the movie to visit the internet to learn more. A number of news articles from 2003 filled in a wee bit more actual history. What struck me is the repeated reference to the fact that the kidnappers were not "horse people," and consequently they were not prepared to know how to handle any horse, let alone a high-strung breeding stallion. According to recently uncovered evidense, it appears that the £20 million stallion was probably killed within hours of the kidnapping, simply because his abductors were terrified of him. How interesting.

In some ways, the filmmakers were as ignorant of horses as the original kidnappers, and that is where some of the "painfully Disney-esque" moments came in. However, I've seen far worse sins committed by horse-ignorant filmmakers. All in all, SHERGAR is a good movie.

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