The Mustang
Director
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Brock Norman Brock
Actors
Matthias Schoenaerts, Gideon Adlon, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Josh Stewart, Connie Britton, Santina Muha, Kelly Richardson, Heath Hensley, John Logsdon
Runtime
1 h 36 min
Release Date
15 March 2019
Genres
Drama
Overview
While participating in a rehabilitation program training wild mustangs, a convict at first struggles to connect with the horses and his fellow inmates, but he learns to confront his violent past as he soothes an especially feisty horse.
  • Rating

THE MUSTANG

Wild Mustang horses are rounded up each year to control the almost 100,000 feral Mustang population in the western United States. A small number of these Mustangs are given to prisons for the inmates to break, tame, and auction off, with the proceeds paying for the program.

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, a French actress, producer, writer, and director, learned about this program – studied the program for years with help from the Sundance Screenwriters Lab – and co-wrote The Mustang script.  The Mustang is an excellent 96-minute drama (in English) about taming the wild beast, personal discovery and second chances.

Mustang horses prisoner reform

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a violent offender, is being reintegrated into the general prison population at the Nevada State Prison after spending years in solitary. “I’m not cool with people,” says Roman. Therefore, prison Psychologist (Connie Britten) places him in the outdoor maintenance program, which in this prison means shoveling horse manure in the Horse Program.

Myles (Bruce Dern), boss of the Horse Program, puts Roman in the program and gives him a wild mustang to train. It seems like an obvious situation – tame the wild horse as you tame the wild horse within you – but it works. Watching Roman struggle with the horse, with his desire to make a connection with the horse, with his anger, his daughter, and his cellmate, all blend well to create a superb drama.

Mustang horses prisoner reform

Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts’ most recent US film role was playing Uncle Vanya in Red Sparrow.  He is excellent as Roman Coleman in The Mustang.  Dialogue is almost secondary.  Watching Roman try to control his emotions and his angry make The Mustang a powerful movie. His meetings with his daughter Martha (Gideon Adlon, Blockers) become intense with pent up anger and regret coming from both.

The scenes of prison life with the intimidation, contraband, and for some reason, easy access to drugs, border on stereotypic.  These scenes are not too gross & violent, but they get in the way of the primary purpose of the story. The prison life scenes add some tension and more sadness. However, the movie would be just as complete without the typical prison scenes.

Taming the wild Mustang and trying to get control of one’s emotions is an excellent character study. The premise makes for a first-class dramatic movie. It is prison, and you do leave a little sadder at the end, and emotionally drained.

 

 

The Biggest Spoiler: The Ending
While Roman Coleman is riding his horse during the auction, and people are bidding, a helicopter flies over head.  The helicopter spooks the horse.  The horse throws and stomps on Roman. They cancel the program and are planning to put the horse down.  Bruce Dern warns Roman and gives him an idea and an opportunity. Roman releases the horse.  The last scene shows Coleman in solitary confinement, again.  At the end, his Mustang is outside the prison fence looking for Coleman.

Movie Details

Director
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Brock Norman Brock
Actors
Matthias Schoenaerts, Gideon Adlon, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Josh Stewart, Connie Britton, Santina Muha, Kelly Richardson, Heath Hensley, John Logsdon
Runtime
1 h 36 min
Release Date
15 March 2019
Genres
Drama
Overview
While participating in a rehabilitation program training wild mustangs, a convict at first struggles to connect with the horses and his fellow inmates, but he learns to confront his violent past as he soothes an especially feisty horse.

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