By Jan Hamilton
This is a tough film that never resorts to sentiment. Most of the characters are not nice. Some are inept, dishonest users. 15 year-old Charlie (Charlie Plummer), our lead, is being raised by his easy-going dad Ray (Travis Fimmel), a man who spends most of his time chasing women. Basically, Charlie must raise himself. Ray loves Charlie, but his parenting method is benign neglect. Charlie finds a job at a race track nearby–not a first class affair, but more like fourth class.
He begins taking care of a quarter horse named “Lean on Pete” for Del (Steve Buscemi) and immediately becomes attached. Del’s girlfriend Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny) and others warn him that these horses aren’t pets, but it’s already too late. When it becomes clear that the horse is heading for a bad end, Charlie steals the horse, a truck and horse trailer, and runs away. His journey to find a place for himself and the horse make for a very moving and wonderful film. Stronger and more focused than most of the adults in his life, Charlie is a protagonists audiences will want to succeed. Excellent performances from all, including Steve Zahn, and restrained direction from Andrew Haigh make for a great film.
Director: Andrew Haigh
Executive Producer: Darren Demetre
Producer: Tristan Goligher
Screenwriter: Andrew Haigh
Cinematographer: Magnus Joenck
Editor: Jonathan Alberts
Production Designer: Ryan Warren Smith
Sound Designer: Christian Dolan
Principal Cast: Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi,
Travis Fimmel, Justin Rain, Lewis Pullman, Steve Zahn, Alison Elliott