Magistrate Hester Saloman wants middle-aged psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart, who administers a progressive English hospital for the mentally ill youth, to treat the 17-year-old Alan Strang, a stable boy who one night in a rage blinded six horses with a metal spike in the barn where he worked for Mr. Dalton. Using the Freudian method the morose Martin investigates the dark secrets of his troubled patient’s life: that includes visits with Alan’s overbearing religious mother and his cold printer father, getting to the bottom of the kid’s experiences with horses, the kid’s elevating the horse to a god-like status of worship as a personal deity, his relationship with the young stable girl Jill Mason and, in the shrink’s attempt to unravel the mysteries of the troubled kid’s mind to make him normal again, the shrink examines his own repressed life and loveless marriage. —Ozu’s World Movie Reviews
Sidney Lumet (born June 25, 1924) is an American film director, with over 50 films to his name, including 12 Angry Men (1957), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) and The Verdict (1982), all of which, except for Serpico (1973), earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Director.
According to The Encyclopedia of Hollywood, Lumet is one of the most prolific directors of the modern era making more than one movie per year on average since his directorial debut in 1957. He is especially noted for his ability to draw major actors to his projects. “Because of his visual economy, strong direction of actors, vigorous storytelling and use of the camera to accent themes,” states Turner Classic Movies. “Lumet produced a body of work that could only be defined as extraordinary.”
One of his steady themes during his career has been the “fragility of justice and the police and their corruption,” according to Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film. He can deliver… read more
It's kind of a mixed bag. The therapist/patient relationship is the most tangible element, but the horse symbolism just provides way too many questions than answers. I was kind of disappointed when I read that Shaffer just took the news clipping and constructed a drama around it. What did the real boy have to say? Is there any account of why he did it? Maybe the true story would be more interesting than the . .
In my mind the unattainable aspect of it was the film/plays point. To show how psychology tires to define the human soul, but eventually fails to grasp the larger aspect of it. Mixing gay thematics, with religious horse metaphors, and sexual restraint is to my mind more interesting than a true story.
Some scenes of this film really pop, and the actors try valiantly to keep it afloat, but it is WAY to cerebral and talky for a film. The general point of this was quite clear in the first fifteen minutes, but the film runs on for nearly 2 1/2 hours. The eight monologues delivered directly to the audience are nearly incoherent. Overall, this was kind of a hot mess.