THE MUSTANG

Rated R/ 96 Minutes
Directed by: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Connie Britton

Showtimes

  • Monday, April 22:  7:30
  • Tuesday, April 23: No Show
  • Wednesday, April 24 - Thursday, April 25:  7:30

Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a convict in a rural Nevada prison who struggles to escape his violent past, is required to participate in an "outdoor maintenance" program as part of his state-mandated social rehabilitation. Spotted by a no-nonsense veteran trainer (Bruce Dern) and helped by an outgoing fellow inmate and trick rider (Jason Mitchell), Roman is accepted into the selective wild horse training section of the program, where he finds his own humanity in gentling an especially unbreakable mustang.

An untamed man and horse connect in 'The Mustang'

• Three stars out of four •

Lindsey Bahr | Associated Press

We don’t learn our protagonist’s name for quite some time in “The Mustang,” the feature debut of French writer-director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. All we know at first is what we see and what Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts projects. Schoenaerts is a commanding presence, and usually a quite empathetic one in films like “Rust and Bone” and “A Bigger Splash,” but here with a shaved head and a rage simmering beneath his nearly dead eyes, he’s downright terrifying. It’s not until he’s assigned to manure duty as part of the correctional center’s wild horse training program that a light even starts to come back on, partly because the head of the program, Myles (Bruce Dern), treats the inmates like human employees, not criminals. Even with its unusually restrained running time, “The Mustang” is a powerful and emotional journey framed by gorgeous sun-soaked shots of the stark Nevada landscape. But Clermont-Tonnerre has established herself as a filmmaker to watch with “The Mustang” and has also made the most compelling case yet that Schoenaerts can not only handle an American accent but excel with it, too.

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