There is no doubt that Damien Oliver's Melbourne Cup win in 2002 ranks amongst the greatest sporting achievements in our nation's history. I am not a fan of horse racing and I have no interest in it whatsoever... therefore it is always to a film's credit if I take a vested interest. There are a lot of flaws with the film... it's clunky. Too much attention is given to insignificant details (the Arabs in particular) and some characters are majorly miscast (Bill Hunter as Bart Cummings?). But what bothered me the most was the inserts of media coverage... the movie is packed with actual Melbourne journalists recreating their own coverage but it seems too forced, like they're reading off from the script. I don't see why their actual 2002 footage couldn't be used.... ANYHOW, with all of it's faults, the movie still manages to work. The horse racing is ultimately irrelevant as it's simply a story of courage and strength. Director Simon Wincer has returned from years of Hollywood mediocracy with something half decent. The Cup is reminiscent of his early film Phar Lap and it's a romantic portrayal of a national hero. I was left with the warm-fuzzies at the end and I felt uplifted. I guess that means the movie was good. lol
For my overseas friends, Oliver is one of our most famous jockeys and the Melbourne Cup is our biggest sporting event on the calendar. It's known as the race which stops a nation (we have a public holiday for it in Victoria). In the week leading up to the cup, Damien's jockey brother was killed during a training race. Damien went ahead and won the cup in his brother's name.