HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Mustang, The Neigh BotherBuy this film here.
Year: 2019
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Gideon Adlon, Connie Britton, Josh Stewart, Thomas Smittle, Keith Johnson, Noel Gugliemi, James McFarland, Sean Patrick Bridges, George Schroeder, Gregory Williams, Joseph Bartlett
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Coleman Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts) has been in prison for twelve years, and for much of that time he has been in isolation thanks to his violent tendencies where he can not only fly off the handle at the drop of a hat, but can do a lot of damage too if he is not managed. He has spent enough of a period of isolation that he can now be reintegrated back into prison life with the other inmates, despite his misgivings and belief he is better off alone, and when his pregnant daughter (Gideon Adlon) arrives on a visit to get him to sign some papers for her, he makes it clear he has no interest in any further contact with her. Yet this is a prison with a special programme for inmates...

The clue is in the title, as well as an introductory bit of captioning which explains that wild horses, or mustangs if you like, are an issue in the United States thanks to their numbers being so hard to control and the regions they can run free dwindling thanks to humanity's expansion and environmental cackhandedness. Therefore programmes like the one in this prison exist to train the beasts after they have been rounded up (we see a helicopter doing just that in the opening minutes), where jailbirds are recruited to look after their own horse for a few months, whereupon the animals are sold at auction and put to work, which may not be better than running free, but there is an alternative.

That alternative is humanely destroyed horses, so you can imagine the domestication idea is preferable, especially if you are a horse. The Mustang was the first feature directed by actress Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre, who had already made a short on the subject which was expanded into this; although technically a French-Belgian co-production, it had a peculiarly American flavour, largely thanks to the sweeping vistas we often saw and a mostly American cast. Schoenaerts was one of Europe's most muscular actors, literally and figuratively, and he did not disappoint with a controlled performance of physicality reined it (as it were) by the incarceration he has suffered, occasionally exploding.

We do not discover what has happened to place Roman behind bars until a good distance into the film, a scene that was among the best this had to offer. There were selected sequences where the cast got to show what they were made of which genuinely gave what could have been as distant and moody as its protagonist a real sense of character, and that opening up emotionally to his daughter was genuinely powerful and superbly performed by the star. Elsewhere, Bruce Dern was invaluable doing his ornery old bastard act as the head of the programme who recognises mixing with horses could do Roman a lot of good, but is not about to let anyone walk all over him, least of all a man with a violent past that could erupt back to the surface at any moment. Jason Mitchell too was very fine as an inmate who uses humour to get by.

However, all this came with some caveats as for every excellent scene that truly owned its position in the movie, there were a bunch of clichés that were more indebted to a cinematic representation of life as it is lived, bad times and good, than it did for anything more realistic. It was a pity, although you could understand some narrative telescoping was necessary: they couldn't show hours and hours of Roman winning the trust of his designated horse, for instance, it would just not be engaging, so a shorthand had to be employed instead. More regrettable than that were the clichés you hoped films had outgrown by now, such as what happened to the only major African American character, or the conclusion that would have been problematic rather than a solution to the issues suffered by man or beast alike. But overall, The Mustang was worth watching for its great cast and an unusual take on the prison drama, as far as that went - you were unsurprised to see Robert Redford listed as producer. Music by Jed Kurzel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 117 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
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: