Tag: training horses

The Mustang

April 17th, 2019 — 1:00am


The Mustang-rm

There is a program in a western U.S. maximum-security prison where inmates can learn how to train a wild mustang horse. If they succeed the horse can be sold at auction. Horses that can’t be tamed are often euthanized.

We meet Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) a somewhat taciturn violent prisoner who becomes involved in this program. There are interesting well-photographed scenes where we see the trials and tribulations of men working with their horses. There are short but well-done supporting roles by Connie Britton a prison psychologist and Bruce Dern who plays the old guy who tells the prisoners how to train their horses.

Unfortunately, we learn very little about the previous background of the main protagonist as we are just given fleeting glimpses of what happened to him and his relationship with his adult daughter (Gideon Adlon) who visits him periodically in the prison. We learn essentially nothing about the other prisoners who are participating in the program and must have stories to tell.

Seeing a wild horse show some recognition to the human trying to train him is a touching emotional experience but is not enough to carry this film and make it worthwhile. We feel that the storyline failed and therefore the movie failed, however, well directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. Even though there were some great scenes of horses running wild or even cozying up to their trainer, we just cannot recommend this movie. (2019)

Any comments are welcome in the section below 

2 comments » | 2 Stars, Drama


June 17th, 2011 — 2:46am


Buck-sp– We came to this documentary film  knowing that we might not be the ideal audience for it since we are not big animal lovers or horse fans. Certainly the opening countryside scenery was beautiful and seeing the horses running free in the lush meadow was very attractive. Buck Brannaman, the main subject of this film is very appealing and has a commanding presence not only on the screen but in person as a guest at our screening. His sensitivity and ability to connect to horses is remarkable and has been a game changer in the approach to training them. He actually was the person about whom  Robert Redford fashioned his acclaimed movie, The Horse Whisperer . Reford appeared in this documentary and told how Brannaman is the real deal and ended up being more than the inspiration of  the script of his  movie but became a key advisor and actually was a his double in several scenes in which he did his magic with horses. The story hook of this documentary which caught our  attention was how Buck the man had started off as Buck the young kid performing in rodeos with his brother Smokey from a very young age with rope tricks and horse riding. Behind the scenes and at home their father beat them unmercifully. Ultimately Buck was placed in a foster home when outsiders discovered the whip marks on his body. Flash forward now to Buck working with a vicious angry young colt that can’t be controlled. Buck comes to understand the history of this damaged at birth horse which was treated badly by his owners and thus rather than attempting to dominate it, he tried to empathically understand it seemingly based on his own experiences. Obviously he can’t do this by psychotherapy and while we get some idea of his ability to communicate with the horse, it is something we, the audience have very little understanding of how he does it. He apparently has been very innovative with his concept of “starting” a young wild horse rather than the tradition of “ breaking” it. We wish that there had been more narration and explanation during  the somewhat repetitive scenes of working with the horses and training them. We saw many scenes with Buck holding flags in his hands and lightly touching the horses with them but we have no idea what that was all about. We also learn that Buck spends 9 months of the year driving around the country holding “clinics” and training people with his techniques while his wife during this time is raising their three kids- one of whom we meet as she is teenage horse women in the image of Buck. It would have interesting to learn more about all his kids and his wife who we briefly meet. In the Q&A period after the film in response to my questions Buck told us that Smokey his brother ended up spending 25 years in the Coast Guard certainly away from horses. The creative force behind the film and director of the documentary is  Cindy Meehl who is a horse owner and became inspired when she met Buck at one of his training sessions. She put together the private funding for her first film of any kind  as well as an experienced team that helped her make it.  The movie made it into the  Sundance Film Festival  and has been invited to film festivals throughout the US and the world. It certainly has made it out of the starting gate. (2011)

1 comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary

Back to top