As I sit here, I am totally conflicted on how want to review the movie, RUNNING WILD with Sharon Stone opening today. (I saw a screener yesterday.) My Pro and Con list is below (scroll).
First, I am happy to see a movie that promotes the gentle handling/training and adoption of mustangs. Bravo!
RUNNING WILD was very pretty (beautiful landscapes and interiors) and Sharon Stone is the perfect antagonist, of course!
I also agree with the benefits of the Prisoner Trained Mustang programs, which this movie features.
Maybe the most important point, for people who aren’t horsey people, this story raises awareness of the mustang in a very eye-pleasing and gentle manner – which is very good. No preaching.
So if those reasons interest you, you will be very happy attending this film.
RUNNING WILD opens today and is also available ON DEMAND.
THE MOVIE TRAILER!
The trailer will give you the look and feel of the movie. All very nice.
MY ISSUES… PROS AND CONS LIST
As you all know, I spent 25 years producing commercials. And, I am well versed in the mustang issues. So, perhaps my eye is a bit more critical than most. As a producer, there were very nice aspects to the movie. As a mustang lover, I totally disagreed with the underlying premise of the movie.
Pro: Beautifully shot, does not look or sound low budget, shot in California, nice music, appropriate wardrobe, nice set design…
Pro: Sharon Stone is the perfect antagonist. Wealthy mustang lover who loses her way and bullies the protagonist.
Pro: The protagonist refers to the mustangs as the animals who helped build America. She frames them with respect and dignity.
Pro: The horses go through a prisoner trained mustang program – which I advocate. I adopted Rojo from a similar program in Carson City, Nevada.
Pro: As an introduction into the existence and worth of Wild Mustangs, this movie does its job.
Pro: As a side note to the plot, the movie shines a revealing light on friends who are not really your friends… and on those who become friends through shared experiences. Horse and prisoner, prisoner and ranch owner, ranch owner and Head Hand…
Cons: My biggest con is the idea that wild horses are starving and need to be taken care of by humans. I disagree that mustangs are starving. If mustangs were left on their on their land and not interrupted – allowed to graze and drink on the proper lands deeded to them (we all know of the range wars/illegal fencing/baiting/water tampering out there…) – they do fine. The horses have survived for many years letting Mother Nature do her thing before the fences and cattle ranches were allowed to shared (and then take over) their BLM lands. I don’t think we should be gathering the herds at this rate under the guise of for their own good. This ‘convenient for the human’ solution is not a good one for the mustangs. If you’ve ever seen the BLM holding pens, you’d agree.
(On a side note, if only the BLM would hear Alan Day’s (Author, THE HORSE LOVER – ) plan for the wild horses. He wants to take over management of 1-5 of the BLM ranches. Just a very small number… to show how they could be managed. Just like he did the first 1500 BLM mustangs ever to be entrusted into a civilian’s hands. Alan Day was given the highest title civilian title given by the BLM. I’m very confident his plan would celebrate in both directions.)
Con: I wasn’t thrilled with the horses used (didn’t look like mustangs… and they seemed too trained up) and the slight of hand, don’t look here, equine husbandry/riding/training errors. I’m sure there were budget issues. Training mustangs for this part would have been costly and time consuming. So, I get it… but…
And, when they stumble upon a herd of wild horses in the movie, the horses didn’t look like any of the wild horses I’ve seen (and I’ve seen many – and house 5 here). They looked like feedlot horses. In fact, in one scene, you can see the feedlot number still on the rump of one horse.
The other issues for me were gaffs in horsemanship (no one lets trained horses stay all night with a halter/lead rope on – or, the worse gaff, a runaway horse that had been corralled overnight with reins in its mouth ? – just to make it easy for Sharon Stone to mount him? And you’ll see riding gaffs that might make you wonder if these people (actors) really know horses.
But to the non horse person, those gaffs would not be obvious, so I think I’m being a bit persnikety here.
I think you will enjoy this very pretty movie as long as you leave your ‘horse person hat’ at the door. Just know that some person who had no idea about mustangs, may adopt one after watching this movie.