Hardened Con Offered Shot at Redemption by Rough-Edged Horse Whisperer
Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) has too quick a fuse to think before he acts. That’s why he’s done a dozen years and counting in a maximum security prison for impulsively delivering a brutal beating that left his victim permanently brain damaged.
Even while incarcerated, Roman’s never learned to control his temper. Consequently, he’s voluntarily spent the bulk of his time in solitary confinement.
A shot at rehabilitation finally arrives when Myles (Bruce Dern), a salty, old horse whisperer, offers Roman a spot in his program pairing inmates with wild mustangs. The hope is that each participant will learn to tame his own raging inner soul while bonding with his stallion.
Roman begrudgingly accepts the invitation, before being assigned to work with a wild horse he names Marcus. Under the watchful eye of the sage trainer, con and colt do gradually take to each other, although not without their share of fits and starts.
Marking Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s nonpareil directorial debut, The Mustang is a character-driven masterpiece. Schoenaerts and Dern generate considerable chemistry, delivering powerful performances against a variety of visually-captivating backdrops, ranging from the vast expanse of a barren Nevada desert to the claustrophobic confines of a state penal institution.
An emotionally engaging meditation on redemption inspired by a real-life program helping inmates turn their lives around.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, violence and drug use
Running time: 96 minutes
Production Companies: Legende Films / Cine+ / Canal+
Distributor: Focus Features
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening April 26, 2019
Avengers: Endgame (PG-13 for action, violence, and profanity) Twenty-second and final installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series finds the surviving Avengers joining forces with their superhero allies to mount one last stand in defense of the planet. Co-starring Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Robert Downey, Jr.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Aurora (Unrated) Horror flick, set in the Philippines, about a tiny island left haunted by ghosts after a passenger ship crashes on its shores. Ensemble cast includes Anne Curtis, Marco Gumabao, and Mercedes Cabral. (In Filipino and Tagalog with subtitles)
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Unrated) Reverential retrospective chronicling the career of a pioneer filmmaker best remembered for directing A Fool and His Money, the first movie to feature an entirely African-American cast. With commentary by Lake Bell, Peter Billingsley, and Diablo Cody. With Courtney Love, Diane Kruger, and Jim Sturgess.
Body at Brighton Rock (R for profanity and some bloody images) Suspense thriller revolving around a state park summer employee (Karina Fontes) forced to spend the night in the mountain wilderness without a radio after stumbling upon a disturbing crime scene. Cast includes Casey Adams, John Getz, and Emily Althaus.
JT Leroy (R for sexuality, brief nudity, and pervasive profanity) Adaptation of Savannah Knoop’s (Kristen Stewart) memoir about her six years spent masquerading as JT Leroy, a literary persona created by her sister-in-law (Laura Dern).
Ploey (PG for peril and rude humor) Animated adventure about a flightless plover chick (Jamie Oram) forced to fend for himself alone in the Arctic after his family migrates south for the winter without him. Voice cast includes Sean Astin, John Stamos, and Debbie Chazen.
The White Crow (R for profanity, sexuality, and graphic nudity) Political biopic recounting legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev’s (Oleg Ivenko) defection to the West. With Ralph Fiennes, Louis Hoffmann, and Zach Avery. (In Russian, French,and English with subtitles)