The Mustang Movie – It is an intimate character study of a man who is physically and emotionally isolated from the outside world and finds purpose in connecting with a wild creature like himself. It’s a quiet story about guilt, confession, and the power of our prison system to reform people. It is attractive with a very strong performance and an attractive central relationship. The scenes between the two main characters are amazing. While it wasn’t as in-depth as it could have been, it kept my interest.
Roman has been in prison for twelve years. He mostly keeps to himself. After being transferred to a new prison, he is assigned to clean up horse manure in a program where inmates train mustangs for auction. Finally he is placed with the wildest mustang. Working with her makes him reevaluate his life, including his relationship with his daughter.
The Mustang Movie
The key here is Mathias Schoenaert’s performance as Roman. From the first time we saw him, he seemed defeated. He is withdrawn, desperate and going through the motions. When his daughter comes to visit him, there is a distance that separates them, and he seems to take it for granted. Real feelings don’t come out until they’re around the horse. Seeing this angry, trapped creature stirs something in him. Schoenaert shows this transition in small ways. His power lies in what he doesn’t say. Then, when Roman’s cool exterior begins to break a little and we see the broken man inside, his sadness over his ruined life comes to the fore.
Movies @ Four: ‘the Mustang’
His moments with the horse he named Marquis are so fleeting that there is nothing but loyalty. The novel leaves its literal and metaphorical nest by training the marquis. The horse reminds him what it’s like to be alive. Nothing is forced or manipulated in these scenes. Co-writer/director Laura de Clermont-Tonnere lets the story of Schoenert and the movement of the animal be told. There is no artificial drama; someone trying to work with a horse that just doesn’t want to be tamed. It’s a simple story that works as a very natural metaphor for the character’s life.
His star Roman succeeds because of his attention to detail in his character and focus on his story. It is also well lifted by plaster. Bruce Dern plays Miles, who runs the Mustang program. He portrays angry, passionate people well. Miles has great compassion for the animals in his charge. He only has a problem when the prisoners abuse the horses. Dern makes him a good person who wants Roman to succeed, but never makes Miles a wise mentor. Jason Mitchell plays Henry, another inmate/coach who helps Roman settle into his new job. It’s a cliche role, but Mitchell loves it. Gideon Adlon (daughter of Jewish actress Pamela Adlon) is Roman’s daughter. Their scenes together are very important, and he introduces the world of history in just a few short stories.
The pace may be slow, but the film never drags. Clermont-Tonnere always has the focus where it needs to be: on Matthias Schoenert’s face as Roma try to find a reason to keep going. I am interested in the human-animal relationship.
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Mustang delivers a powerful and timely message, which is further enhanced by the efforts of the star-studded ensemble. Read what the critics are saying
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