Directed by Robert Duvall
Starring Robert Duvall, James Franco, Josh Hartnett, Luciana Duvall and Adriana Barraza
Texas Ranger Samantha Payne reopens a 15-year-old missing person case, and uncovers evidence that suggests that the boy was likely murdered on a ranch belonging to wealthy family man, Scott Briggs. When Scott’s estranged son unexpectedly returns home during the investigation, Samantha becomes even more convinced that the Briggs family was involved, and will stop at nothing to discover the truth about the boy’s death - even putting her own life in jeopardy.
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★★★★★ review by pandronas on Letterboxd
2015 – WILD HORSES (directed by Robert Duvall)
Wild Horses has no meat; barely any flesh, if I were to give it that image as a body of work. It leaves out huge portions of police procedures in an investigation, which is one of the most important sub plots that is integral to the main plot. And characters interact in moments where they suddenly appear; whether it’s a social setting or private quarters and reveal important and telling aspects of the story. These are mostly compelling scenes, but it’s as if you were abruptly invited to witness them. There are barely any set ups to the scenes to introduce the location or anything that could lead you to those scenarios. Robert Duvall the director and star of the movie leaves out the links that would usually tie together an interesting story plot line. He leaves out the limbs to this skeletal movie!
Like a skeleton in a desert found in plain daylight with all its mystery and speculation, Wild Horses keeps us at a distance until several moments that reveal its impact. I love the way Duvall does that throughout the film, it hooked me all the way through. It sneaks up on you and it’s worth being a witness to its rhythm and tone just waiting for those moments to happen! I watched Wild Horses, completely glued to the screen! I was mostly terrified in many suspenseful sequences, which were edited in a bare bones style and I was often shocked by many of the characters. I found their reactions and actions in this outstanding film often made me suspicious of them. And the ending left me utterly speechless, it was so well played out and intriguing!
Wild Horses says more about human nature, the human condition and relationships than a dozen mainstream films or art films put together. A brave accomplishment with daring narrative! I was hoping for a 16 oz. Steak and got chicken bones; and I’m glad! Wild Horses is a masterpiece because it made all these unconventional choices!
★★★½ review by Timothy Evans on Letterboxd
Maybe the most overlooked and underrated movie of 2015.
A Western-police procedural, in the low key mould of John Sayles' LONE STAR, that's written and directed by star Robert Duvall with the control, class and dignified restraint that comes from being one of the oldest hands in the business.
Duvall plays Scott Briggs, a monster of a patriarch but doesn't play the character as an outline, or sketch him with his worst traits of homophobia, chavanism or bullying big-man-around-town. For all the awful things that come out of his mouth, Duvall privileges Briggs with almost instant moments of reflection and the quiet self-recognition of someone too old, stuck in their ways and caught in their own lies to modify their behaviour. We see a grandfather, so demonstrative in his love for his grandchildren that it's clear he's trying to make up for where he went wrong with his sons; someone so pained by silent regrets that he cuts a solitary figure, even when surrounded by family.
It's a heartbreaking performance that builds upon Duvall's reputation as a screen icon and in his old age, this ought to be seen by more people for the simple reason that he can't have many more this good left in him.
Franco does the best - most likeable - work I've ever seen from him and we can add this to the steadily growing list of films (AUGUST, RESURRECTING THE CHAMP, I COME WITH THE RAIN) that prove Josh Hartnett can really act, which nobody saw. Best of all is Duvall's (40-years-younger!) wife Luciana Pedraza as the steadfast Texas Ranger hellbent on cracking open a longstanding town scandal and all the corruption that stems from it. Absorbing all the threats that come her way with always-professional tact and seemingly, unfazed bravery, Pedraza's reaction shots are consistently marvellous.
★★★½ review by Alfred Maynard on Letterboxd
Very slow, but a fine story. Surprised that it was written and directed/produced by Robert Duval.
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