At the auction in the film, it's stated a horse is sold to the "Las Vegas Police Department." There is no such organization; Vegas' police force is known as the "Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department" (LVMPD for short). See more »
The symbolism couldn't be more plain: a wild horse and a violent prisoner thrown together by circumstance. Fortunately, French Director (and co-writer) Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre is able to imbue the movie with enough nuance as to give it some grace. The criminal is Bruno (Matthias Schoenaerts) who has begrudgingly entered a prison rehab work program centered around a stable of horses run by a crusty rancher (Bruce Dern). The horse is the untamed title character (eventually named Marquis).
Many of the story beats about Prison life are predictable including a sympathetic therapist (Connie Britton) and, of course, the child left to bring herself up (Gideon Adlon). There's also the requisite jailhouse bully (Josh Stewart) and the sympathetic inmate (Jason Mitchell). Some of the details are necessary to flush out the tale, but, too much of it is so on the nose as to broach being heavy-handed.
Luckily, there are the scenes with just a man and his horse to compensate. It's here, where THE MUSTANG earns it's keep. The simple elemental engagement between man and beast where words are few, and physical interaction tells all. Bruno and Marquis get to the point where a tough truce is earned, even if their eye to eye contact belies the fact that neither will fully give in to the other. They are each untamed. Caged, and not yet free.
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