The Mustang

A tale of redemption, “The Mustang” pairs horses with inmates in an attempt at rehabilitation.

Horse enthusiasts wanting to see a film that presents these majestic wild creatures in a new, therapeutic role will enjoy this week’s wide release of “The Mustang.” From executive producer Robert Redford and director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, this story of wild horses used in a prison’s rehabilitative program highlights second chances not only for the four-legged movie stars—but for the violent criminals depicted behind bars.

Inspired by true events, “The Mustang” analyzes the mindset of wild horses and which can and cannot be broken. Running parallel to the understanding of the horses is the similar examination into the human psyche. The bonding relationship that develops between horse and man is a two-way, therapeutic endeavor, where both gain empathy and expose their own faults that have been held deeply inside for years.

They say that what shows up in the corral shows up in your life. For violent convict Roman Coleman, portrayed by 2015’s “The Danish Girl” star Matthias Schoenaerts, his equine therapy is transformational. 

If he can’t control himself, he can’t control a horse.

A handful of Hollywood heavyweights roam throughout “The Mustang.” Two-time Academy Award nominee Bruce Dern (from 2013’s “Nebraska”) provides inspiration and horsemanship for Schoenaerts’ angry and frustrated Coleman character. Jason Mitchell, who played rapper Eazy-E in 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton” also wears the bright orange jumpsuit from the Department of Corrections, witnessing the life changing effect of horses upon his stubborn fellow convict.

“Nashville” television fans will find that show’s country music star and singer Connie Britton in “The Mustang” describing the psychological benefits of equine therapy. Her importance to this increasingly popular form of counseling merits attention. With empathy and openness towards one’s faults springs hope and the possibility for change. All that’s needed is a second chance. 

Tucson area horse lovers interested in this equine therapy story can find “The Mustang” playing at The Loft Cinema starting this Friday, March 29. The Loft expects the film to run a minimum of one week. Join me to catch this remarkable story on second chances, hope, and change.

“The Mustang” is rated R with a running time of 1 hour and 36 minutes. 

Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the Reel Brief movie blog at reelbrief.com. Email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com.

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