When there are films with the subject matter being discipline and improvement, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s “The Mustang” shows how one man is destined to make a difference in his life. The difference is with training horses. Actor, Matthias Schoenaerts is Roman. Roman has been in jail for years for committing a crime that is not well known. He has temper issues, trust issues, and on top of that, he has a kid that is pregnant. He is introduced to Myles (played by Bruce Dern). Myles is the captain of the horses that are used to be trained by prisoners as a rehabilitation program. Myles gives Roman the opportunity to work with the horses. The problem is that training horses, is harder than Roman thinks. That is because Roman is quite impatient and very confrontational. In the opening of the movie, Roman is already all fueled and angry.
With “The Mustang” I find that redemption is an aspect to the movie. In moments of the movie, where Roman is in group sessions with his other inmates, or in visiting hours with his daughter, he does mention a couple of times about how he regrets his judgment that got him to end up in prison. With that, he feels that training horses is making him start to feel like he is in a more positive place. With that, he hopes that he can make up when he eventually is released from jail. Myles has hope in Roman, but also Myles does not remind Roman of how horses can be a different challenge on different occasions. The two main challenges that Roman faces is having patience with horses, and how long he may be in prison for.
The director played Diane in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007). I felt “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” was quite similar because of how both films gear on characters who cannot do much in the world, and they want to make a difference despite their restrictions. In “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” the character is almost completely paralyzed, and his only way of communicating is to blink his eyes for yes or no. In “The Mustang” the character’s reputation is based on how well he can train the horses with very little experience. Both are very detailed in elements to why the characters have restrictions and struggle to get farther than they would like to.
“The Mustang” is one of those movies that has only some dialogue but not a whole lot. That element in the film’s writing I feel helps us understand Roman through his facial expressions and anger that he has built up inside him throughout the movie. The moments where Roman outbursts are unexpected and that intensifies certain scenarios that viewers do not see coming. Based on Roman’s background, viewers will also wonder if he can behave or hold his attitude together. “The Mustang” has unexpected events that will hold attention well. I will say three and a half stars.