Clifton Collins Jr. is an emotional force in Jockey, a film that features fine performances all around, but is largely predictable and familiar.
Collins plays an aging jockey facing the approaching end of his career as is physical condition deteriorates, focusing on one last push as a rookie rider (Moises Arias) arrives claiming to be his son. Jockey is a horse racing drama that is focused less on the sport and more on the turmoil of Collins’ character, a fantastic vehicle through which the actor delivers a phenomenal performance, but a lackluster story overall. Where familial drama exists, it quickly dissipates. Where there could have been heightened drama within the races, unique camera angles that focus squarely on the jockey negate it. As a tale of one man’s personal reckoning with life and his increasing vulnerability, Jockey works, but it doesn’t present much in the way of new cinema.
It should be noted that Molly Parker once again turns in a fantastic supporting performance; how she has not become a bigger household name is beyond me. Arias is equally as intriguing in his role, carrying a suspicious aura that contributes to the drama, at least in the first act. Jockey does a nice job of bringing a story forward that just pierces the world of horse racing and the experiences of professional riders, but it doesn’t go deep enough to be the standout it wants to be.
Photo from Zurich Film Festival