Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Jason Mitchell

Year: 2019

I’ve documented my love for MattSho before, I listed a bunch of his great performances in this film’s trailer, so I won’t dive into it now, but just know that I think he’s amazing, and I’ll basically watch anything that has his name attached on the off chance that it might be brilliant, because that’s the ceiling of his talent; genius.  I was a little worried that The Mustang would lean too far toward Hallmark status, that it wouldn’t be able to appropriately convey the amount of emotion present in order to create a stunning drama, and in that I do think I was right to be concerned, but I still got to watch Schoenaerts work, so it’s not a total loss.  This movie is a little too cookie cutter and was obviously handled by a director who couldn’t force it from its constricting form, but that doesn’t mean it was a total waste; it simply won’t make Top Ten lists, and that’s pretty disappointing.

Roman Coleman is a convicted felon who has spent too many years behind bars to keep the entirety of his humanity, beginning to withdraw from contact, reality, and the world around him.  He’d rather be kept in isolation away from his problems than face them head on, but when he is forced to enter gen pop at a new facility his new job might just bring him out of his defensive stupor.  This particular prison captures and breaks wild mustangs, selling them at auction to fund the program, which in turn helps inmates learn control, empathy, and a skill, as they learn to love their animals and the special privileges that come with this responsibility.  Roman, at first both angry and afraid, learns the importance of the bond he creates with his animal and of taking ownership for his own, often harmful, actions.

I really want to get MattSho trending; he deserves a nifty nickname.  The guy is a rare talent, and he shows it every time he shows his face on screen, he just knows how to delve deep down to places most of us would rather not go, but how also to turn on the lights there, how to make us see more than what we were afraid to learn.  The Mustang is no different, existing as an opportunity to showcase his skill, and that of at least two others: Dern slides into his role perfectly, and I’m really growing to like Mitchell the more I come across him.  Otherwise, the film just isn’t a strong showing.  It relies far too much on standard recipes and old cliches, without the imagination necessary to elevate it to that special level we’re looking for, that we’re longing for so that we can get especially excited.  The director simply allows the expected to occur without reining the plot in and forcing it to do what she wants, the result being a semi-sleepy, all too predictable story that might feature good acting but won’t stick with us much past turning off the DVD.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆



By ochippie

Writer, Critic, Dad Columbus, Ohio, USA Denver Broncos, St. Louis Cardinals Colorado Avalanche, Duke Blue Devils