Friday, November 20, 2009

The Wild Horse Redemption 2007

The opening shots in John Zaritsky's documentary "The Wild Horse Redemption", are from a helicopter, looking down on hundreds if not thousands of wild mustangs running free in the high desert foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. A voice over informs us that there is in excess of 33,000 wild mustangs roaming the plains of America's West, mainly in Nevada, Utah and Oregon. These herds of wild mustangs are under the protection of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), whose task is to keep the numbers of mustangs under control, but also to ensure they are not hunted down, mainly for use as horse meat. At one Federal Prison, they have a scheme that gives those inmates who choose to do so, the opportunity to 'tame' one of these mustangs, hence the film's title. It should be noted that these men are in prison for committing serious crimes, such as murder, armed robbery, or drug-related offences. Most are serving long sentences. Most have been in jail before - some will end up back behind bars. This terrific documentary traces the endeavours of a few inmates who try their hand at 'taming' a wild mustang - or to be more correct, feral horses. For those of us who think that most criminals are beyond redemption, "The Wild Horse Redemption" proves otherwise. Full marks to the authorities of this prison, who look beyond the crime, and see a man who truly seeks redemption.
THE WILD HORSE REDEMPTION traces the incredible stories of both the horses and the inmates, masterfully intertwining their parallel fates and their mutual struggle towards rehabilitation. The inmates' progress with their horses depends upon their ability to cultivate patience, fortitude, and empathy; interestingly, too, it is through the recognition of themselves in these wild animals that they better understand their own lives. The most stirring moments of this film capture the intimacy forged between beast and man in the dramatic space of the training ring, where both undergo extraordinary transformations.
Beautifully shot in the rugged foothills and big skies of southern Colorado, THE WILD HORSE REDEMPTION takes viewers on an intimate and uplifting journey of freedom, discipline, and redemption.

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