Despite some great cinematography and the very able direction of her actors, first time French actor turned director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre simply has chosen a subject that doesn’t lend itself to great drama. Part of the problem is the main character Roman; he’s basically a one-note martinet who fits the bill of the generic angry inmate.
The meat of the story is where Coleman must train a horse, he names Marquis. The movie eventually grows tedious as the expected bonding between man and animal takes place right on schedule. Much more successful is Bruce Dern as Myles, the old codger who runs the training program. Myles proves to be much livelier than the perennially glum Coleman.
Finally, there’s the very awkward ending which is designed to be both tragic and bittersweet. During the horse auction, Marquis is spooked by a helicopter passing by overhead and runs amok. Coleman is thrown to the ground and injured, leading to the closing of the horse training program. Why dream that up when the whole idea is to promote the idea of the benefits of all that bonding?
It’s a setup for Myles to clue Coleman that he can open the gates and allow Marquis to escape before he’s put down. Despite the program’s closing, Coleman will be “alright” in the knowledge that Marquis will roam free! All in all, I just didn’t buy the ending where a program of such value is so easily eliminated.