HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
They Shall Not Grow Old
Dollman
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Man Who Invented Christmas, The
Tom's Midnight Garden
Lady, Stay Dead
Thieves, The
My Dear Secretary
I Think We're Alone Now
Amazing Colossal Man, The
Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael
Suzanne
Nae Pasaran!
Kiss of the Dragon
Other Side of the Wind, The
Secret Santa
Wolcott
10.000 Km
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Hitler's Hollywood
Ghost Goes Gear, The
First Purge, The
House of Wax
Mandy
Climax, The
Justice League Dark
Night Watchmen, The
Bandh Darwaza
She Beast, The
Jane and the Lost City
   
 
Newest Articles
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
   
 
  Lean on Pete My Lovely HorseBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Andrew Haigh
Stars: Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel, Steve Zahn, Alison Elliott, Lewis Pullman, Justin Rain, Bob Olin, Jason Rouse, Julia Prud'homme, Teyah Hartley, Amy Seimetz, Kurt Conroyd, Rachael Perrell Fosket, Frank Gallegos, Dana Millican
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Charley (Charlie Plummer) likes to run, he commits to a fitness regime whenever he can, simply jogging around his neighbourhood in Oregon, noting well the racetrack there and wishing he could get a job looking after the horses. His father Ray (Travis Fimmel) maybe drove away his mother when he was very small, Charley is not sure, but he does know he regrets her replacement in their lives Margy (Alison Elliott) leaving too: his dad is not such a bad guy, he simply makes poor choices, if anything he is more like an older brother than a parent. But one day, Charley happens to help out racehorse owner Del (Steve Buscemi) when his truck gets a flat tyre, and opportunity knocks...

Lean on Pete was adapted from the novel of the same name by Willy Vlautin, drawn from his experiences at the racetrack and his early years as a troubled teen - the lead character here is just fifteen years old. According to him, it was a story about loneliness, a very current theme for the twenty-first century and as Charley has no online presence, nor any friends to connect to, he is painfully isolated as his father has not enrolled him in a new school after their move to Portland for a fresh start. This could be because the boy is living in the nineties, but there were no real specifics as to what time period it was set in, aside from the use of a mobile phone at one point.

It's not Charley's, in case you were wondering. Many were expecting a straightforward boy and his horse yarn along the lines of My Friend Flicka or The Black Stallion, or indeed any one of numerous big and small screen accounts of young kids bonding with a pet, yet this was as much a critique of those as it was a brutally realistic rejoinder to any number of romantic animal friendly movies. Lean on Pete, the name of the racehorse our hero latches onto, has no preternatural ability to communicate with Charley, indeed there is no sign the beast has any idea who the boy is from its first scene to its last, all the affection decidedly one-way traffic as far as it was concerned.

Not to say that dedicated animal lovers would not get anything out of it, as the kid's love for the animal and worries that Del will send it to Mexico to be slaughtered for meat down there meant there was a degree of emotion that director Andrew Haigh was not always keen to propagate. An air of unsentimental pragmatism ruled throughout, Charley more often than not numbed by the bad hand life is dealing him as his father is hospitalised; in that manner this was a sort of anti-The Journey of Natty Gann, substituting one not exactly reciprocated respect between species for another. They did have one thing in common, however, in that their final scenes were intended to allow the floodgates of tears open, and after all that harshness you would achieve a catharsis as instructed.

The issue you may have with that was the rest of the film, if not cold, displayed such a reserve that you would be acclimatised to its restraint to the extent that any bid to tug the heartstrings was arriving a shade too late in the day to have the intended effect. Nevertheless, as a depiction of the kind of unfortunate who, no matter all the safety nets in place in our society, managed to freefall into near oblivion, Lean on Pete was on firmer ground as far as appealing to the interest of the audience went, Charley meeting a variety of guest stars and supporting players to throw his own existence into sharper relief, be that Chloë Sevigny as the jockey who tries to stop him getting too attached to the horse, to Steve Zahn as the apparently friendly, then drunkenly aggressive, down and out who reminds us all the good intentions in the world don't always work out well. Newcomer Teyah Hartley, too, offered a sad portrayal of a girl who is picked on by all and sundry, but her need to be around someone leaves her with no choice. Episodic, then, but vividly put across and not as cold as it might seem. Music by James Edward Baker.

[Curzon's Blu-ray captures the sweeping landscapes with impressive clarity, and has lots of interviews - including an exclusive with Haigh - and a behind the scenes featurette as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 191 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Paul Smith
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: