26 June 2011
(Time barely allows me the luxury of movie watching, let alone long writing blathery blog entries about what I watched. That may be for the better. It means the thoughts will get a lot briefer. Case in point...)
Buck is a pretty ideal character study documentary, in that it takes a character with a really concise and distinct hook, is clear about who he is and what he does and where he's come from -- and illustrates an insider's world with total clarity, such that a total outsider like myself is brought in. It's light on dramatic arc or sense of "journey," but it captures the character in a complete-feeling way, and it even allows us to see him fail (he was unable to tame the oxygen-deprived "predator" horse Cal), though I wouldn't have minded seeing more reaction to that failure -- nothing shows character like how one deals with a crisis, and outside of life-and-death scenarios, few crises are as big as the inability to do the one thing you're best at.
Mostly, though, Buck feels like it's a story about emotions, and how we channel what we're given or who we are into those around us. It's a story about paying it forward, and being aware of that cycle. Buck's dad abused him terribly, but Buck transforms the feeling of being a victim into compassion for another creature. Buck's clients are told repeatedly that how they treat their horses mirrors who they are as people. I've held that theory about household pets for years as well -- that the "personalities" of your cats and dogs are echoes back to you of who you are. Whatever aspect of you you show them that resonates with whoever they already are, that is what amplifies and reflects back from them. So much more so with more intelligent creatures like horses.
Seen at Cinema 21.