Review: ‘Horses: The Story of Equus’

A big, beautiful species gets bigger and more beautiful in "Horses: The Story of Equus," an Australian quasi-docu that charts three steeds' separate paths from pony-hood to jobbing for mankind -- or not, in one case.

A big, beautiful species gets bigger and more beautiful in “Horses: The Story of Equus,” an Australian quasi-docu that charts three steeds’ separate paths from pony-hood to jobbing for mankind — or not, in one case. Splendid Victoria and New South Wales scenery abets the splendor of the four-legged stars, making this a large-format attraction sure to perform well in Imax venues worldwide.

Gabriel Byrne’s dulcet tones well-suit the slightly awed narration that briefly backgrounds equine history before settling into the almost-imperceptibly staged stories of three purebreds born on the same Aussie ranch. After a year, each is sold at auction. A chestnut mare is trained for the racetrack, eventually doing well after an injury. A bay proves too temperamental for show jumping, then bonds with a second, movie-stuntman owner and rescues the stuntman (in a pretty hokey sequence) from an on-set fire. Lastly, a black stallion bursts out of its trailer during a drive to a stud farm — running free in the wilderness in pic’s most spectacular and engrossing segs. Celtic-flavored score seems a routine choice, but that aside, featurette is beautifully mounted and nicely paced.

Horses: The Story of Equus

Imax--Australian

Production

An Imax presentation of an Equus Film Prods. production. Produced by Liz Butler, Michael Caulfield. Executive producers, Caulfield, Mikael Borglund, Rainer Mockert. Directed, written by Michael Caulfield.

Crew

Camera (color, 70mm Imax), Tom Cowan; editor, Melanie Sandford; music, Roger Mason; art director, Robbie Perkins. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (Ultimate Imax), Aug. 28, 2002. Running time: 42 MIN.
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