Matthias Schoenaerts in The Mustang

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At exactly the right moment, Matthias Schoenaerts reminds us that he is a brilliant actor when he is presented with a challenge. The Belgian who made his international breakthrough in Rundskop (Bullhead) and De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone) plays a violent convict who is unable to control himself and can barely speak comprehensively. His long incarceration in a prison in a remote part of Nevada has cut him off from everything and everyone. But there is still a glimmer of hope. He learns to tame wild horses thanks to a rehabilitation programme and becomes slightly more humane in the process.

The story should have been a touch more exciting, dramatic, or unpredictable for you to get your entire group of friends together to go and see The Mustang. But the self-confident directorial debut from the French Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre does contain a handful of impressively shot scenes and scraps of cinematic poetry that are far above average and which take full advantage of the possibilities of a big screen. Schoenaerts and the wild horses bring out the best in each other and that is beautiful.

The Mustang: US, dir.: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, act.: Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Gideon Adlon

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