THERE’S NO WISDOM WORTH HAVING THAT ISN’T HARD WON.
When Cindy Meehl needed help with one of her horses, she went to see Buck Brannaman… and realized that everyone should have the opportunity to hear his story and watch him at work. Buck became Meehl’s first film, but it doesn’t look like it; strikingly shot on the road with Brannaman during his travels around the country to various ranches where he puts the art of “natural horsemanship” on display, this is also a visual treat. Robert Redford is among those touting his talents, a fan since Buck helped make The Horse Whisperer (1998) look as credible as possible. Brannaman, and others, also talk about his days as an abused child, a fact that easily could have led him astray in many ways. A fan portrait for sure… but nevertheless compelling.
2011-U.S. 88 min. Color. Produced by Julie Goldman. Directed by Cindy Meehl. Cinematography: Guy Mossman, Luke Geissbühler. Music: David Robbins.
Last word: “I learned as I went and we did shoot one whole clinic that was inside in Washington in an indoor arena and it was so dark. It was wonderful stuff. What he was saying and what he was doing was so amazing and everyone said this was one of his best clinics and all his students were great. But you just looked at it and every time you tried to fit it in…we kept trying to keep some of it in, but we finally cut it because it just looked like a cave compared to Betty Staley’s where it was so gorgeous. Some of it was trial and error and I really wanted it to look cinematic. I just thought in my head that I wanted it to look from the get go like a feature film. This isn’t a little cubicle TV documentary. I’m not knocking TV but I wanted it to be very cinematic and very much feel like a feature film.” (Meehl, Collider)