Hot Docs 2015 Review: ‘Unbranded’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2015, Movies by - April 23, 2015
Hot Docs 2015 Review: ‘Unbranded’


World Showcase

We’ve all talked about taking that trip, you the one, that one that seems impossible, one day, when we win the lottery, etc, etc.  Well in Unbranded, four guys did it and it wasn’t all as great as it should have been.

It’s border to border, Mexico to Canada, it seems insurmountable but these four friends of have turned their dream into the trip of a lifetime.  However here is the catch, they are doing it on horseback and on wild mustangs to boot.  The mustangs are perfect for this sort of rocky terrain, but with the decreasing public lands across the United States is there enough room for these wild horses to thrive and even have a purpose?

Ultimately a very pretty, but terribly muddled movie as Unbranded is a picturesque road movie that awkwardly tries to shoehorn a conservation issue into the middle of it that never quite works.

Director Philip Baribeau who also served as a cinematographer on this, quite simply shot the hell out of it all as he paints and lush and vital portrait of the wild lands that these mustangs breed and live on it.  It will make anyone who has the itch for a camping trip more than a little envious even during some of the hardships that our subjects have to endure.  While the movie brings up issues about conservation of space for wild horses, it never successfully hammers home the issues it is trying to present, had the film just focused on the subjects it would have come across as a much cleaner piece of work.

A very pretty road trip kind of doc, but any issues that Unbranded tries to bring up just feel unresolved.

Unbranded screens three times during Hot Docs.

Sat. Apr 25th at 9:45 PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Sun. Apr. 26th at 1:15 PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Sun. May 3rd at 10:30 PM at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.