Film review: ‘Buck’
Wed, Jun 29, 2011 (6:20 p.m.)
Buck Brannaman seems like an ideal subject for a short news magazine profile, not a feature-length documentary, and Cindy Meehl’s film about him, Buck, sometimes feels like it’s been padded to reach the desired running time. But there’s far more to Brannaman’s story than the basic pitch (he’s a real-life horse whisperer, and consulted on the movie of the same name) would indicate. Just watching him deal with horses in his gentle, loving way can be fascinating, and his story of childhood abuse that led him to empathy and compassion as an adult is moving. Some of the demonstrations of Brannaman’s technique, especially a long sequence toward the end of the movie in which he tries to calm a troubled horse, can get repetitive, but the movie overall is life-affirming and well-crafted. It’s a small story that trades in big emotions, and Meehl makes it worthy of the full-scale approach.