Matthias Schoenaerts brings the same coiled, damaged masculinity that sparked his performance in Bullhead to another story about a man trying to take control of his violent nature. He plays Roman, a convict in the middle of a long prison sentence in Nevada whose comment to a prison therapist that “I’m not good with people” is a gross understatement. He finds himself drawn to the prison’s program of taming and training wild mustangs, so that they can be sold rather than euthanized as a way to cull the herds. The metaphor isn’t exactly a subtle one, and director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre struggles at times through a clunky narrative that also involves Roman’s contentious relationship with his pregnant daughter (Gideon Adlon) and the forced smuggling of ketamine. But there’s strong material when the focus is on Roman’s relationship with his horse, and the coaching of the program’s grizzled supervisor (a fittingly grizzled Bruce Dern). Schoenaerts has a gift for conveying pent-up rage and frustration while completely silent—and as obvious as it might be that he identifies with a horse that can’t easily be tamed, watching him try proves surprisingly emotional.
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Producer: Ilan Goldman, Robert Redford and Molly Hallam
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Gideon Adlon, Bruce Dern, Connie Britton, Jason Mitchell, Josh Stewart, Thomas Smittle, Keith Johnson, Noel Gugliemi, Sean Bridges, George Schroeder, Gregory Williams and Joseph Bartlett