The Mustang

Image result for the mustang movie poster

A boy and his horse…

Or…

A felon and his Philly…

The Mustang is a film starring Matthias Schoenaerts as Roman Coleman, a prisoner in a jail in Nevada who is having troubles with other inmates and winds up participating in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs.  In this, Roman bonds with a particular difficult mustang after the program’s head trainer (Bruce Dern) picked him out.

The performances of this movie were fantastic.  Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Jason Mitchell (who played another prisoner in the training program) were standouts, bringing a great deal of emotion and depth to this story. The story could have devolved into the sappy and sweet nature of other type of animals and owners stories, but The Mustang avoids those cliches.

Many of the actors involved in this movie were actually real-life prisoners from the same type of program as shown in the movie and you would not know.  Unlike Clint Eastwood’s 15:17 to Paris, these non-professionals are managed by the actual actors and are kept to a minimum.  Because of that, they really help solidify the story.

There is a side arc with Roman’s daughter, played by Gideon Adlon, that is surprisingly effective considering the limited amount of screen time it received.

French actress Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre made her directorial debut in this movie and she does a tremendous job.  There is a real feel to this and it avoided the typical type of claptrap that these films usually take.  There is a typical redemption story at the heart of the film, but they do so much with it that you do not notice that that part of the story does tend to be predictable.

The Mustang is full of amazing acting and some wonderfully shot scenes, as well as some surprisingly violent and emotional moments.  You cheer for Roman even after you find out what horrible thing had landed him behind bars in the first place.  Bruce Dern remains as a national treasure.

3.75 stars

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