Posted 24 July 2011 - 07:34 PM
Perhaps it does have some "female" appeal. I guess one of the biggest themes in it I saw was gentleness, but it definitely wasn't touchy-feely-- it really had a lot of connections to parenting, in that you have to be kind to the animal as you discipline it. That the idea of "breaking" a horse is fundamentally off, that that has no regard for the process of growing and learning that the animal has to undergo. I think seeing this alongside the story of Buck's abuse made it really powerful.
I took away a spiritual metaphor from the "ideal" horse-rider relationship that Buck depicted in the end, the way he taught the horse to follow his will until they became one, in an intuitive, trusting relationship. Near the very end, he says, "if you got a taste of that, you couldn't get enough, you'd rather do that than eat. You may spend your whole life chasin' that, but it's a good thing to chase." It really made me think of the way that we might seek to spend our lives chasing that connection, that harmony with our "rider"'s will.
As far as it is as a documentary? Perhaps not riveting, but if it was going to be honest with its subject matter, that comes with the territory.