The Mustang

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The Mustang
The Mustang poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLaure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Produced byAlain Goldman
Written by
Music byJed Kurzel
CinematographyRuben Impens
Edited byGéraldine Mangenot
Distributed byAd Vitam (France)[1][2]
Sony Pictures Releasing
Universal Pictures (Belgium)[2]
Release date
  • January 31, 2019 (2019-01-31) (Sundance)
  • March 15, 2019 (2019-03-15) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes
  • France
  • Belgium
Box office$6.4 million[1]

The Mustang is a 2019 English-language drama film directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (in her feature directorial debut) and written by Clermont-Tonnerre, Mona Fastvold and Brock Norman Brock. It stars Matthias Schoenaerts as an incarcerated convict who participates in a rehabilitation program centered around training of wild horses. Jason Mitchell, Gideon Adlon, Connie Britton and Bruce Dern appear in supporting roles. The Mustang is based on an actual rehabilitation program in Carson City, Nevada.[3]

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 31, 2019, and was released in the United States on March 15, 2019, by Focus Features.


Roman Coleman has been incarcerated for 12 years after leaving his domestic partner permanently brain damaged in an attack. Aware of his short temper and violent tendencies, he has resisted efforts to be reintegrated back into society. While working outdoor maintenance, Roman is placed in a rehabilitation program run by rancher Myles that assigns prisoners with training wild mustangs. Each prisoner in the program is given a specific horse to train and Roman is required to complete the training within 12 weeks before his horse is sold at an auction.

Roman initially struggles with the training of his mustang, but under the guidance of Henry, an inmate regarded as the top horse trainer, he begins to make progress. As the weeks pass, Roman becomes close with the horse, whom he names Marquis, and forms a friendship with Henry. The program suffers a blow, however, when Henry is murdered by Dan, Roman's cellmate. Roman retaliates by strangling Dan into unconsciousness before they are broken up by guards.

The day of the auction arrives, which Roman invites his pregnant daughter Martha to attend with the hope of improving his relationship with her. While Roman showcases Marquis to the auctioneers, he becomes distracted after he notices Martha is not present. This distraction leads to disaster when Marquis is startled by an overhead helicopter, causing Roman to fall off his horse and nearly be trampled as the other trainers restrain Marquis. Shortly afterwards, Roman learns from Myles that Marquis has been deemed untrainable and will be euthanized. Taking advantage of the prison gates being damaged by a storm, Roman is able to help Marquis escape.

Some time later, Roman receives a letter from Martha acknowledging her father's refusal to leave prison. The letter also includes a photo of Martha with Roman's newly-born grandson, who she intends to have Roman meet during her next visit. After Roman finishes reading the letter, he spots Marquis standing by the prison gates and smiles.



In May 2017, it was announced Matthias Schoenaerts and Jason Mitchell had joined the cast of the film, with Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre directing from a screenplay she wrote, alongside Mona Fastvold and Brock Norman Brock. Canal+, Cine+, will produce the film, alongside Alain Goldman and Molly Hallam serving as a producer and executive producer under their Legende banner.[4] In October 2017, Susan Sarandon, Gideon Adlon, Bruce Dern, Josh Stewart joined the cast of the film.[5][6] Sarandon later departed from the cast and was replaced by Connie Britton.[7]

Filming took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, Nevada.[8]


It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 31, 2019.[9][10] It was released in a limited release on March 15, 2019.[11]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 95% based on 129 reviews with an average rating of 7.47/10. The site's critical consensus reads "The Mustang finds fresh perspectives in a familiar redemption tale brought brilliantly to life by powerful performances from Bruce Dern and Matthias Schoenaerts".[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]


  1. ^ a b "The Mustang (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Film #85366: The Mustang". Lumiere. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  3. ^ Penrose, Kelsey (March 7, 2019). "'The Mustang' filmed at Carson City's historic prison arrives in theaters March 15". Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  4. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (May 20, 2017). "Cannes: Focus Nabs Matthias Schoenaerts-Jason Mitchell Drama 'Mustang' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 4, 2017). "Susan Sarandon & Gideon Adlon Join Focus Features Drama 'Mustang'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (October 26, 2017). "Josh Stewart Joins Matthias Schoenaerts' Drama 'Mustang' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  7. ^ Boone, John (March 13, 2019). "'The Mustang' Star Recalls the Scene That Made Him Think 'People Are Gonna Die' (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  8. ^ Penrose, Kelsey (March 7, 2019). "'The Mustang' filmed at Carson City's historic prison arrives in theaters March 15". Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  9. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 28, 2018). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2019 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Mustang". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (November 28, 2018). "Film News Roundup: Matthias Schoenaerts' Horse-Training Drama 'Mustang' Set for March Release". Variety. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  12. ^ The Mustang (2019), retrieved August 11, 2020
  13. ^ The Mustang, retrieved August 11, 2020

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