I loved this film. Unfortunately,it seems to have cut out more than half its target audience, as it's one of the few and far between films about horses that DOESN'T think that, by taming a horse and putting it to work, you are doing it a huge favour. Let's face it, people that would watch a film about horses are generally those who own one and do put it to work. This film is not afraid to say that actually,horses should be allowed to run wild.
Running Free is the story of a young chestnut colt named Lucky, born on a ship bound for the mines in Namibia, who is rescued and befriended by a young orphaned boy who works in the stables. When he loses both his mother and his newfound friend, owing to evacuation during the war,Lucky must learn to survive on his own, eventually becoming the leader of his own herd. The film is narrated by the horse and told from his point of view.
Despite the various themes of family, friendship and redemption, this film is in no way saccharine or sentimental. There are no soft focus close-ups, or gentle zoom-ins to lamenting music. In fact, the human characters are realistic; the upper class and feared stable owner still has compassion for the orphaned boy, allowing him to keep Lucky despite the foal's lack of noble lineage. What's more, unlike many 'villains', he rejects loading his own prized purebred horse on to the evacuation train, instead ensuring everyone in the mines is taken to safety.
However, there are several suspensions of belief, as the orphaned boy and Lucky somehow survive in the Namibian desert. Lucky too apparently learns his survival skills from a young village girl.
Despite this, I enjoyed Running Free a great deal, as the focus is on the horses, and riding and working them is not seen as normal and acceptable. Neither is there too much sentimentality or blatant moralising, as is found in many family films. If you are interested in horses, it is definitely worth watching, if not, it is at least worth a look for its different perspective.