A tightly coiled ball of rage by the identify of Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) meets his match coaching a wild horse on this indie drama from French filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre.
Schoenaerts’ Roman, a jail inmate who brusquely tells Connie Britton’s social employee he’s “not good with individuals,” is assigned to manure-shoveling obligation within the stalls the place horses are stored, however can’t steer clear of a boarded-up barn with a mustang furiously kicking its partitions. Primarily based on the real-life Wild Horse Inmate Program, choose prisoners in his facility work with captured horses, whose inhabitants within the wild has been deemed perilously excessive, to assist prepared them for public public sale.
You possibly can spot the parallels with Roman from the beginning, however “The Mustang” by no means delves into straightforward melodrama or cliche. There’s sparse dialogue; a lot of the movie merely bears witness to Roman’s halting progress, with the assistance of fellow coach Henry (Jason Mitchell of “Mudbound”) and this system’s no-BS director (a superbly forged Bruce Dern).
That is Clermont-Tonnerre’s function directorial debut, however her 2014 quick “Rabbit” explored comparable terrain with a narrative a couple of feminine inmate. She captures exquisite, visceral moments of connection — in addition to terrifying disconnection — between Roman and his horse, Marquis. Gideon Adlon (“Blockers”) can be a quiet standout as Roman’s daughter, who visits with nice reluctance.
Nevertheless it’s Schoenaerts, considered one of this technology’s best actors, who makes “The Mustang” a shifting take a look at human potential for redemption and rehabilitation.