film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Horse Dancer 2017 * * Stars

The Horse DancerDirector: Joel Paul Reisig
Year: 2017
Rated G
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Richard Karn, Jason London, Sophie Bolen

Samantha Wick (played by 17-year-old Sophie Bolen) is a talented and young, American gymnast. She's also standoffish with a defensive personality. After getting cut from the U.S. Olympic team, her ailing grandmother pays for her to go to a horseback riding camp. When said campsite falls into financial turmoil, Samantha uses her notoriety and equestrian vaulting skills to attract more students and save the entire program.

That's the gist of The Horse Dancer, my latest review. Shot on location at Black River Farm & Ranch (in Cromwell, Michigan), it definitely has production values to boot. On the flip side, "Dancer" is also creepily childlike. And within its first forty-five minutes, you might see shades of the worst screen offering via 2017.

With G rating and nearly two-hour running time intact, The Horse Dancer at times plays off like an inexpert student film. It contains novice, wooden acting by almost everyone involved and a Muzak soundtrack that may make you cringe indelibly. I suppose without troupers Jason London (Dazed and Confused) and Richard Karn (of TVs Home Improvement) in supporting roles, this flick wouldn't even have the chance to get green-lighted.

Image result for The horse dancer jason londonHelmer Joel Paul Reisig does improve on "Dancer's" second half by settling in and giving it a more dramatic feel. And his direction although all over the place, still comes off as enthusiastic and somewhat authentic. Unfortunately, it's all too little, too late. And it can't compensate for what I mentioned in the last two paragraphs. Not by a long shot.

Parents who are able to sit through most G-rated films, might find The Horse Dancer to be a little tasking with its cramped dialogue exchanges and its overly lily-white nature. As for the kiddies, well they may embrace it depending on their non-animated attention spans and their tolerance for a mostly unlikable main character (her antagonistic counselor rival is no prize either). Overall, a mixed review from me.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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