Of Horseshoes and Handcuffs

The Mustang‘s a ruminative, understated, cinematic elegy of horseshoes and handcuffs.

Have you ever contemplated the resonance between these two symbols? Well, this pondering, sometimes ponderous movie is here to help.

How does society civilize — or is it subjugate? — animal nature through incarceration? Are those of us — horses and humans alike — who feel confined by the everyday trained to pursue notions of freedom that will only put them/us at the mercy of other, collective captors? There’s a reason that both mustangs here — a label that transcends species —  are shot in extreme close-ups; they’re bursting out of the frames projected onto them that cannot contain the multitudinous totality of their beings.

Rehabilitation might be the stated goal — in faulty theory more than in actual practice — but what’s the value of integrating into a system with backwards values? The unlikely duo at The Mustang‘s core navigate how to operate within behavioral and ethical frameworks steeped in illicit apparatuses designed to make all of us dependent upon them in some way. If detainment begets reintegration into a machine that further detains, is participation perpetuation? Or is it possible to carve out morsels of freedom within this commodified and commodifying illiberality? Will relationships under the duress of oppression unavoidably reflect the imbalanced power hierarchies in which their companionship was forged? Can we escape inequity if we come from a fundamentally-inequitable environment?

If these questions hit a nerve, then The Mustang may very well be for you.


Stray Take: A dynamite career lies ahead for Jason Mitchell (and, thus, for us). Cast him in everything, please and thank you kindly. His talent deserves — nay, needs — NAY, DEMANDS!!! — one of those prolific years that forces the masses to ask, “What’s the name of this dude who keeps being so great in so much…?”

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