Critic Reviews



Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The prison drama is a well-worn sub-genre, ripe with predictive beats and expected narrative turns. Those behind this picture are determined to subvert those expectations, and the attempt–though not fully realized–is much appreciated.
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.
It’s all well-trod territory. And yet — and here’s another cliché — The Mustang breathes new life into most of those conventions, thanks in no small part to Schoenaerts and his remarkable work.
It’s a touching and original piece of bare-bones sentimental humanism, and Schoenaerts is terrific in it.
De Clermont-Tonnerre shows admirable restraint, knowing that, in her carefully constructed frames, it can be enough just to get Roman's newly compassionate eyes into a close-up with the expressionless eye of a horse.
Fascinating and frequently compelling, The Mustang is a hybrid, the unlikely combination of genres you wouldn’t think go together but are able to coexist thanks to an exceptional leading performance.
Clermont-Tonnerre comes from a place of defiance, and her fearless instincts surge through every frame. Each time you think you have this movie pegged, it’ll knock you for a loop.
A tense prison drama that’s penned into the trappings of a classic Western, The Mustang is a small movie about a subtle transformation, but its closing moments — however contrived they might be — are as touching as they are unexpected.
Single-minded and direct in its execution, the film is a hard look at the extremes of masculine guilt and healing.
The initial inspiration was clearly there, but the execution simply falls short.

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