JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West | The Last of the Winthrops | Mickey Hardaway (Directors: Ashley Avis, Viviane Winthrop, Adam K. Singer, Marcellus Cox) - June 13, 2023 id="543337086">

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West | The Last of the Winthrops | Mickey Hardaway

4.5 4.5

A trio of docs that do not shy away from the truth

Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West
Ashley Avis
2023, 69 minutes
Four and one half stars

We need the tonic of wildness

Here’s just another reason to distrust the government of all the people and put disdain on law enforcement officials who are more impressed with themselves than their “constituents”.

Put simply, the film is about the survival of the fittest/fattest (cattle/sheep vs. wild horses) all foraging, and watering on public lands.

Naturally, beautifully, the stars of the film are the horses themselves—oblivious to the fact that they are living on US public lands. But their co-inhabitants are domestic sheep and cattle, whose skins and meat are much more valuable than their neighing cousins.

And so the “wiser” minds in the Bureau of Land Management, have decided to cull, replace (or in rare exceptions release the lucky few) the largely uneconomical herds. Their method? Using especially low-flying helicopters, mercilessly scaring, then dragging the magnificent beasts into awaiting holding pens, forcing them into readily for-hire trucks then sending the innocent creatures (at best) to confined holding pens or (at worst) slaughterhouses for those around the world who might enjoy horse meat rather than steak.

It’s a difficult film to watch (especially compared with other wild horse movies on these pages—cross-reference below), but more importantly, precise, truthful documentation of the US government’s most misguided policies for decades.

Anyone in Congress listening? JWR

The Last of the Winthrops
Viviane Winthrop, Adam K. Singer
2022, 84 minutes
Four stars

You can’t choose your relatives

Very occasionally in JWR reviews (we opt for less is more—cross-reference below).

In this instance, Winthrop has chosen to look back at her life’s history via Ancestry.ca.

But be careful what you wish for. Probably more often than not (as in this gripping instance), the results reveal much more than anyone intended.

Best of show is Shie Rozon’s original score (most notably Stephanie Fife’s searing/thoughtful cello interventions).

Otherwise, research your past at your peril. JWR

Mickey Hardaway
Marcellus Cox
2023, 116 minutes
Three and one half stars

Art is a waste of time

Here’s a feature that may be of interest to aspiring artists whose family scorns their “unproductive” talents notably Dad Randall (Davis Chattman who can’t escape his rightful comeuppance) and talented son Mickey (Rashad Hunter virtually carries the production on his gleaming shoulders).

Can a talented artist/animator make a living in a world where his dad feels that sort of work is for pussies?

Despite some sort of support from guidance counsellors (Chartz Williams) and psychiatrists (Stephen Cofield Jr.), Mickey senses then establishes his considerable talent only to be ambushed by his apparent supporters.

Sudden girlfriend, Grace (Ashley Parchment) tries to add calm (the instant colour is most welcome from the black and white), but the circumstantial situations only conspire to make things worse.

Predictably nothing turns out well. Like so many needless deaths, a few more are chalked up to the list for no apparent purpose. JWR

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