Cindy Meehl’s BUCK is a horseman’s story. A character portrait featuring trainer Buck Brannaman – probably one of the best looking modern cowboys you’ll ever see (never mind his beautiful wife and daughter), BUCK is a story of self-realization. This coming-of-self angle may be why the film has been winning awards all over the place and crossing over to audiences who don’t give a lick about horses. That’s me, really (a rider I am not), but I have to say I wasn’t as charmed as I wanted to be. I took my son and had to explain beforehand that much of the movie was going to concern the fact that Buck had been mentally and physically abused by his alcoholic father. (“What’s abuse?” asked my son. When I told him some children are beaten he looked at me earnestly and said, “You and daddy don’t do that.”) Buck’s journey from foster child to world-class horse whisperer who revolutionized the way horses are trained is definitely interesting, but this is a case of slight overhype. “Much of the movie – too much of it – is just Buck in the corral, riding, working with ropes and flags, conditioning a horse to behave,” says Orlando Sentinal critic Roger Moore.
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