ON SCREEN · FILM
Matthias Schoenaerts is terrific in this quietly moving western about a prisoner who bonds with a wild horse.
Originally scheduled for May 11
“Matthias Schoenaerts is terrific in Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre's quietly moving debut feature. The Mustang wants to immerse us in the silence of that rarefied space where man and animal connect. The movie is less about a convict who becomes a horse whisperer than about a horse who becomes a convict whisperer.” —Variety
Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts, Rust and Bone) is a tightly wound convict fresh out of solitary confinement at a maximum-security prison in the Nevada desert. Still wary of human contact, Roman enrolls in a tough but rewarding rehabilitation program for learning to train wild mustangs. Under the tutelage of grizzled trainer Myles (Bruce Dern), he takes charge of an ornery horse in the hopes of preparing it for an annual auction. With the wild animal acting as a mirror for his own raging emotions, Roman must learn to tame not only the mustang but also the beast within.
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s engrossing character study finds hope in the desolate, sunbaked beauty of its desert setting. Juxtaposing the regimented rhythms of a prison drama with the wild lyricism of a western, The Mustang depicts one man’s attempts to rewrite the turbulent narrative of his life. Schoenaerts gives a quietly moving performance, suggesting deep wells of feeling buried beneath Roman’s hulking, hangdog frame; memorable performances by Connie Britton ’89, Gideon Adlon and Jason Mitchell round out this story of self-discovery in the arid West.
D: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, US, 2019, 1h36m