Buck is good. It is a simple movie about a man who is probably more complicated than he comes off in the film. He is a man who, despite personal physical and mental abuse, repudiated violence in his own life. And what he does with his own life is “train” horses. He doesn’t whisper to them (although he was a consultant on Robert Redford’s film).
I went to see this movie because I was not paying $32 (for 2 people) to see Transformers, Dark of The Moon. I knew I was going to see it but there is a limit to how much I will allow myself to suffer. And the day after seeing Buck, boy, did I suffer. I was one of the only people over the age of 12 who was tolerant of the second Transformers movie. I apparently liked it better than the cast or the director--although I use the word “like” in the loosest possible way. I use the word in the “I only wanted to sort of poke out my eyes while watching this film” way.
The new Transformers made me want to poke out my eyes. Really. That is not hyperbole. I got up and went to the bathroom even though I didn’t have to go. Anytime any character talked for more than 20 seconds all I could think was “God I hope a robot comes in and freaking blows something up.”
If you enjoyed this film and are over the age of 13 you should go to your medical professional for a CAT scan.
It is also a movie for people who like horses and old fashioned documentaries. There is a curious glossing over of some details. Buck talks, his friends talk, one of his daughters and his wife talk. But other, presumably important, people in his life do not. He talks but there is a reticence there. In some ways this is a little frustrating.
But it is also sort of refreshing. After all in today’s world “celebrities” have reality shows where they talk about their bowel movements on national television isn’t it nice to have a retiring, private man who shares enough, just enough, to let us into his world and life and to teach us something? And this isn’t just a subtle lesson about how violence is unnecessary but how patience is. He scoffs, at one point in the film about how people who are 40 and say they are “too old.” He then notes how one of his mentors was “breaking” horses when he was 94.
Buck is a small film but there are big lessons there if we choose to take them to heart. You can also just eschew that and watch a movie about a man with a different way of “breaking” (the term is not really apropos) horses. It isn’t all happy and cheery. But ultimately the film is low key, hopeful and if it doesn’t give you a laundry list of important life changing issues to think on, it gives you a handful and some very clear and specific reasons why you should think on those issues it does touch upon.