18 January 2019 | TheAll-SeeingI
Racing Colt Wins
A moment of self-deprecation first: Perversely, I stumbled upon this intelligently crafted indie after the poster's title and the trailer insinuated to me a horse racing film (!). After peeling off the wrapper in full, I'm pleased to pass on great news: The Scott Damien-penned and directed Racing Colt is a glittering and multifaceted gem of a film, plumbing the depths of fading stardom with wry humor, darkness, and intimacy.
David Atkinson is our fading star - Colt Racer - and what a manifestation of the has-been role he conjures. At first equal parts Lebowski, Rambo, and Birdman with a dash of hair metal god, Atkinson's performance is marked by escalating greatness throughout, at times deftly presenting a bulletproof veneer of self-confidence while full-scale implosion lurks beneath the skin. Toby Meuli counterpoints Atkinson with terrific skill and spot-on inclinations; his gentle navigation around the crumbling legend is above all else a remarkably truthful and nuanced performance, consistently casting light when Atkinson's character plummets into darkness.
A slightly cynical theory exists that ties our love of celebrity culture to our voyeuristic desire to be made safer by observing the failures of those who at one point managed to project as infallible. This theme is on blast in Racing Colt, which is ultimately the story of a very human man at a constant crossroads. If we haven't all been there, we surely will, and Damien's tale is a wonderfully entertaining precursor to it.