The simple, lean narrative and the starkness of its setting lend a mythic quality to this moving contemporary drama about finding redemption and a meaningful life. For most of the felons in a cramped, isolated prison in the Nevada desert, the American west is not the land of promise and wide-open spaces, but a dead end—particularly for a moody violent offender played by Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone), frequently in solitary confinement for "anger management" issues. But the prison shrink (Connie Britton) and the grizzled cowpoke in charge of an inmate work program (Bruce Dern) see something in him, and the convict joins a crew to tame wild mustangs, going toe to toe with a horse that has a harder head than his own. Cinematographer Ruben Impens (Beautiful Boy) deftly plays with light and shadow to deliver one gorgeous image after another, such as a blood-orange sunrise filtered through blowing sand, and galloping equines that could be lifted from a Grecian urn. This film was developed at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute lab for emerging talent; he certainly found one in French actress Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, here making an impressive feature directorial debut.
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writer: Brock Norman Brock, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Mona Fastvold and Mona Lerche
Producer: Adrian Politowski, Alain Goldman, Cédric Iland, David Womack, Molly Hallam, Nadia Khamlichi, Robert Redford, Steak House and Vanessa Djian
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Connie Britton, Bruce Dern, Jason Mitchell, Gideon Adlon and Josh Stewart