Director: Cindy Meehl
Runtime: 88 mins.
Australian release date: 16 February 2012
Buck is Cindy Meehl’s directorial debut and it is interesting to note that her background is in fashion and art. Interesting? Well, it shows, as this is a stylish documentary which is not only visually rewarding, but also full of compassion and respect for animals and humans. The story is about Buck Brannaman who survived an abusive childhood to become a ‘horse whisperer’. In fact, he was the inspiration for the novel which was transferred to the silver screen by Robert Redford.
Buck travels the USA for nine months of the year helping both horses and people with their problems. It is from this dual relationship he is able to suss out why a horse is behaving badly and, in some cases, why people behave badly to horses. At least one scene in this doco will make you flinch when a wild horse lashes out in a way that is not dissimilar to a disturbed human. Buck uses his life experience to understand the problems faced by the horse brought on by its confused owner.
Horse-lovers will revel in this film for obvious reasons, but it’s not only them who will appreciate it. Buck is a deeply moving story and sends out a very positive message at a time when it seems that the world needs direction. Not that I’m suggesting that Buck has all the answers but he does make sense in a straightforward, ‘cowboy’ kinda way. You leave the screening smiling at the sage advice given by Buck’s foster mother Shirley, who maintains, “blessed are the flexible for they shall not get beaten out of shape”. Positive vibrations indeed!