Film
3:12 pm
Wed June 29, 2011

Walker's Three to See: <i>Buck</i>

KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week.

Buck Brannaman is considered one of the best horse trainers in the country and, in fact, was the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer. Cindy Meehl's moving documentary about him reveals how his cowboy duds and macho exterior mask a deep and deeply benevolent man. Meehl follows him to training sessions all over the country, and is thankfully content to let us watch him work in real-time. The key to his methodology- one that never inflicts pain on the animals - could be a mirror image of a horrific childhood rife with suffering. He grew up in a horse show family and was a semi-famous trick roper from the age of four while, outside of the arenas and corrals, he was mercilessly beat by his alcoholic father. It was a connection to animals and a welcoming foster family that saved his soul, and Meehl's film grants us an inside invitation to a remarkable man whose work ethic is summarized by his motto, "I'm helping horses with people problems, not people with horse problems."