The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

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The Dark Horse is an emotionally-charged and inspiring drama about a man who searches for the courage to lead, despite his own adversities - finding purpose and hope in passing on his gift to the children in his community.
Copyright Date: ©2015
Characteristics: 1 DVD-video (approximately 120 min.) : sound, colour ; 12 cm.
Alternative Title: Dark horse (Motion picture)

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Described as “Once were Warriors…with chess”

With the punch of Once Were Warriors, NZ drama The Dark Horse depicts the disillusionment, hopelessness and violence of contemporary Maori life, as well as providing a sense of possibility, hope, and joy. The Dark Horse won many awards including NZ Best Film (2014), Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and a number of significant international awards. The main character of The… (more)

Described as “Once were Warriors…with chess”

With the punch of Once Were Warriors, NZ drama The Dark Horse depicts the disillusionment, hopelessness and violence of contemporary Maori life, as well as providing a sense of possibility, hope, and joy. The Dark Horse won many awards including NZ Best Film (2014), Best Actor, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and a number of significant international awards. The main character of The… (more)


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g
gailholdeman
Feb 10, 2020

Maybe a few too many "F" words for my taste. But most of them might have been true to life. A bit hard to follow at first, but got better, and did turn out in the end to be inspiring, especially since it was based on a true story.

r
richibi
Aug 19, 2019

a season in Hell, appalling, but with superb acting

c
chetanka
Apr 23, 2019

Super film! Put me in mind of Kevin Costner's McFarland, USA. That was, of course, about Latino lads shepherded into champion distance runners in Southern California. Now, Cliff Curtis's Dark Horse is about Maori youngsters already experimenting with chess but Coach leads them into perfection. The varied ages as well as both lads and lassies make it more interesting for me. My daughter, the school teacher, opined "Too much swearing!" I replied "Am guessing most of the dialogue was improvised." Still, I find it interesting that the cultures of two countries so far apart in distance are so similar. Kudos to EPL for having this film of which many of us have probably never heard. I discovered it through the APTN which does a remarkable job of telecasting films that our national networks ignore.

b
ba_library
Apr 07, 2019

Good movie based on a real life story. Genesis who is a Maori man dealing with mental health issues decides to volunteer to teach Maori youth chess. It is a bit bittersweet because people shun Gen for is illness and he has to learn to cope with his personal and social issues while also having to deal with others issues such as his brother who is involved with a gang and expects his son to follow him. Genesis was a chess prodigy and he wants to share his love of the game with the kids and hopefully take them to the New Zealand junior chess championship. His nephew joins the chess club but is supposed to be initiated into his father’s gang on the same day as the chess championship. Great performances by the actors and a rather grisly look into one aspect of Maori life. Subtitles are provided when Maori is spoken but you might want to turn on the closed captioning—I had a little difficulty understanding the Maori gangsters.

k
kpelish
Mar 28, 2019

Amazing performance by Cliff Curtis (“Whale Rider”) as Genesis, a champion chess player who's been derailed by mental illness, homelessness, and the stresses of being an uneducated minority (Maori) in a mostly indifferent white New Zealand culture. His gang leader brother, Ariki, reluctantly lets him live at his house where he's surrounded by drugs, violence, and pressure to accept a miserable life (his brother curtly tells him to go on the dole). However, his own optimism, unquenchable love for chess, and growing affection for his at-risk nephew leads him to train an unlikely group of street kids for New Zealand's junior chess championship. The still-intact Maori culture provides them moral strength. This underdog team story has been told before through swim, track, and basketball (see, respectively, “Pride”; “McFarland, USA”; and “Hoosiers”) but the main character here has far larger obstacles to overcome. Note: occasional Maori with English subtitles.

l
Lcshephe48
Jun 01, 2018

Another great movie from New Zealand. I love that its a true story. It's great to see heart felt movies about overcoming the challenges of poverty and mental illness. Watch this.

m
Miller1114
May 11, 2018

I really didn't think I would enjoy this movie as much as I did. Heartwarming. The power of family, the impact of mental illness on the individual and their family, the importance of mentoring youth and a big cry at the end. Loved it!!!

e
erinsnest
Mar 05, 2017

March 5 2017.....It looks like I returned this on Dec 5 2016, but did not make a comment.....I know I enjoyed it!, and will maybe have to watch it again sometime.

m
mikeedm
Jan 15, 2017

This is a great movie that very few people have heard about.

d
deb6
Oct 11, 2016

The Dark Horse is a New Zealand story along the lines of Stand and Deliver. The achievement of success and accolades for a group that came from a situation so lacking in hope is spiritually uplifting.

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k
kpelish
Mar 28, 2019

Coarse Language: Yep.

k
kpelish
Mar 28, 2019

Other: Drug use is portrayed as normal. Racism and prejudice against mental illness.

k
kpelish
Mar 28, 2019

Violence: Fist fights; a child is abused and groomed for gang membership.

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j
jimg2000
Aug 07, 2016

Legend of Maui and the game of chess:
We “ know who Maui is, eh'? He's one of our ancestors, eh'? And one day he went fishing. He had this magic fishhook. He threw it over the side, and then something bit. He was like, “That's a bit heavy. Can't pull that up all on my own." So, because he was a leader of his people, like this king, Maui, he went and got all of his family, just like us, just like all these pieces on this board, they come together, and they pulled and they pulled and they pulled up land. And that land is the land we all live on now, eh? New Zealand? That's us. And that board there, the kingdom for this king, that board is like our land. We have to protect our land, eh? And we do that by all working together with our king. Now, if we lose our king, Maui, game over, no more game, 'cause he got the magic, so we have to protect him. Now, the one last thing about Maui, our king, is he has to carry that responsibility, and it's very heavy. So, ...

j
jimg2000
Aug 07, 2016

A lot of profanity ... at least the chess move lessons are clean:

So, 10 rules. Control the centre! Right on the centre. ... Connect the rooks. Connect the rooks. Two rooks together are stronger than one. Leave no one behind. All together, that's where we create the
net. That's how Maui caught the sun. Okay? Coordinate. Rangimarie, give me the coordinates
for the Spanish Square.
- C4.
Who told her? The Italian Square.
- B5.

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