The Mustang
Director: 
Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Year: 
2019
Rating: 
R
Run Time: 
96 mins
Cast: 
Matthias Schoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern, Connie Britton

Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a tightly wound convict fresh out of solitary confinement at a maximum security prison in the Nevada desert. Still wary of human contact, Roman enrolls in a tough but rewarding rehabilitation program learning to train wild mustangs. Under the tutelage of grizzled trainer Myles (Bruce Dern), he takes charge of an ornery horse in the hopes of preparing it for an annual auction. With the wild animal acting as a mirror for his own raging emotions, Roman must learn to tame not only the mustang but also the beast within.

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s engrossing character study finds hope in the desolate, sunbaked beauty of its desert setting. Juxtaposing the regimented rhythms of a prison drama with the wild lyricism of a western, The Mustang depicts one man’s attempts to rewrite the turbulent narrative of his life. Schoenaerts gives a quietly moving performance, suggesting deep wells of feeling buried beneath Roman’s hulking, hangdog frame; memorable performances by Gideon Adlon and Jason Mitchell round out this story of self-discovery in the arid West.

"Quiet, understated and unforgettable, 'The Mustang' is a winner by five lengths." - Original-Cin

"We can only describe the result, which is that this director — in her first feature film — has the ability to synthesize emotions and ideas through pictures. She shows you something; it means something, and you know what it means. She has an emotion, so she shows you something else, and you feel it, too." - San Francisco Chronicle

"Ms. De Clermont-Tonnerre’s direction is a revelation — not just a good first try, but a first-rate achievement by any measure. She clearly watched such relevant classics as 'The Black Stallion' and 'The Misfits,' yet found a laconic style that is all her own." - Wall Street Journal

"An unconventional tale of redemption that earns its upbeat ending by not falling prey to every cliché of the genre or giving in to the temptation to become too maudlin or sentimental." - ReelViews

"The small miracles that do occur in 'The Mustang' feel real, and well–earned." - Philadelphia Daily News

"'The Mustang' becomes an emotional powerhouse in its final act." - rogerebert.com 

"First-time feature filmmaker Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre brings a gorgeous, wide-open sparseness to her visual storytelling (it makes sense that Robert Redford, the original Sundance Kid, is listed as an executive producer), but it’s largely Schoenaerts’ movie to carry." - Entertainment Weekly