Lean on Pete

Director: Andrew Haigh
Year Released: 2017
Rating: 3.0

Meek Charley (Charlie Plummer), being raised by his Dad in Portland, starts work as an assistant to unscrupulous horse trainer Del (Steve Buscemi), develops a peculiar kinship with one of Del's horses, Lean on Pete, and then steals Pete (before Del can sell him) and goes in search of his Aunt. Having seen a few films by Haigh, I can say he's primarily focused on conveying a sense of despair and loneliness and this work, based on the novel by sometimes rocker Willy Vlautin, stacks the proverbial deck against Charley, in which everything that can humanly go wrong does - it's not an 'enjoyable' experience per se (and regularly upsetting) but it does show the young man to be resilient, and the ending allows a brief flicker of promise for him to lead a 'normal life' (and play football!). Kudos to the supporting cast for being uniformly solid (this includes Buscemi, Travis Fimmel, Chloƫ Sevigny and Steve Zahn) and to Haigh for the poetry and confident pacing.