Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Black Stallion


For some reason this movie reminds me of Full Metal Jacket. Not that they have anything in common in terms of outlook or subject matter or anything else. It’s just that both movies have a first act that is pretty much perfect, and a second act that is just … very, very good. Each is really two movies shoved together, and might have been better if they had existed as only the first parts, but you can’t release a one-hour movie. Here, the story of a boy and a horse shipwrecked on a desert coast of Africa in the late ‘40s, and how they come to understand and trust—and in the case of the boy, at least, love—each other is simply the best cinematic poetry I’ve ever seen. It is transcendent, and for at least half of the hour there is no dialogue.
I worked with the director, Carroll Ballard, for a while on a project that didn’t come to anything. He has little use for Hollywood, and doesn’t get many movies made, but I would heartily recommend most of them, including Never Cry Wolf, Wind, Fly Away Home, and of course, this one. You might even enjoy the second part, which is just a horse race movie, but a beautifully filmed and engaging one.