Buck (2011) – Cindy Meehl

Buck opens itself to be made fun of. It’s a documentary about a horse trainer who is so earnest in his belief in horses and his metaphors about what we, as cluttered humans, can learn from these majestic, simple creatures that it has all the makings of movie that would be derided in our cynical time. And make no mistake, it’s no masterpiece, there’s really no objectivity, it’s simply a 90-minute feel-good puff piece about this man. When it was over I was half expecting two anchors to look at each other and say, “Wow, what a great story, Cindy. Good job.” (PAUSE) “Well, Springfield residents trying to get to Hammons field for tonight’s Cardinals game were in for a surprise when a cow wandered onto Highway 60 around 5:30 today…” Buck is an interesting person and one salivates to think what Errol Morris might do with him but this is a one-sided hero story, competently assembled and in some areas beautifully shot and there is a moment of startling danger that is compelling. And while I did learn more than a little about dealing with horses I learned next to nothing about what I wanted to know; what makes Buck tick. There’s a little psychobabble about his upbringing that’s is quite dark but the camera seems to cut away right before he’s going to betray a real motivation or thought. It’s pleasant enough but not much else.

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