REVIEW: Running Wild (2017)

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2017, ESX Entertainment/ESX Productions/Protect the Harvest/SP Distribution

Director:
Alex Ranarivelo
Producers:
Ali Afshar
Writers:
Christina Moore
Brian Rudnick
Cinematography:
Reuben Steinberg
Editing:
Brett Hedlund

Cast:
Sharon Stone (Meredith Parish)
Tommy Flanagan (Jon Kilpatrick)
Christina Moore (Jennifer Hutchins)
Jason Lewis (Brannon Bratt)
Dorian Brown Pham (Stella Davis)
Tommy Williamson (Debrickshaw Smithson)
Eloy Mendez (Carlos Gonzales)
Michael Girgenti (Matt Barker)
Michael Wiseman (Doug Ciocca)
Lidia Porto (Octavia)

A widow fights for her ranch and learns about herself in this wonderfully shot drama from director Alex Ranarivelo.

Stella Davis has been living in her family’s farm for many years. When her husband, J.T., is killed in an auto accident, Stella learns the shocking truth about her husband when she learns the bank will foreclose on the farm in three months. Upset but determined, Stella will go by any means to make sure she keeps her farm. Brannon Bratt, the ranch’s assistant comes up with an idea to help Stella so she will be able to keep her farm.

Through some connections, a group of convicts arrive at the farm in an attempt to lessen their sentences by working at the ranch. Their job is to rehabilitate the wild horses that live on the ranch so Stella can auction them off to breeders in order to raise the money to keep the farm. As the convicts slowly begin to transition themselves from hardened criminals to caring people as a result of successfully rehabbing the horses, Texas owner Meredith Parish arrives after hearing rumors of the horses being mistreated. She goes at great lengths to make sure Stella is unable to succeed, but Stella knows that if there is a fight with her ranch on the line, she’s going all the way to make sure nothing stands in her way.

This is quite an interesting film that could perhaps put a Hallmark Channel stamp on it in terms of its plot. Co-written and co-produced by actress Christina Moore, who also plays the apparent best friend turned devious Jennifer, Moore and Brian Rudnick crafted a story about fighting for what you love and in the process, learning a thing or two about yourself.

This applies to the central character of Stella Davis, played really well by Dorian Brown Pham. From the looks of things, the film introduces her as a socialite of sorts whose life comes crashing down when her husband is killed in a car accident. With her learning the very hard truth about what her husband had done to keep the ranch going, Stella’s rich lifestyle comes crashing down and yet, we learn that it is her family’s farm that is in jeopardy. However, thanks to some help from farm assistant Bratt, played by Jason Lewis, Stella comes to terms about what she had missed the most and faces all obstacles to make sure she learns a life lesson in the process.

Scottish actor Tommy Flanagan’s Jon is like Stella in terms of going through change and finds some bumps in the road. Jon is one of the convicts who is enlisted in the program to help rehabilitate the wild horses and his first impression is seen as someone who doesn’t really want to be there but is there just for the sole purpose of getting his sentenced reduced. However, he eventually begins to take a liking and learns a thing about himself in the process as well. Christina Moore brings a pretty good 180-performance as Jennifer, going from Stella’s apparent best friend to devious as a result of her misconception of how the convicts are, which brings us to Sharon Stone.

Sharon Stone, who also serves as executive producer, brings some charm to the role of the film’s central antagonist, Meredith Parish. She is Jennifer’s older sister who like Stella, runs a ranch that serves as a wild horse sanctuary. However, due to her sister’s misconceptions and the rumor mill going about, Meredith goes from businesswoman to flat out villain who goes to great lengths to stop Stella from succeeding in her mission to rehab and eventually auction off the horses to save her ranch. However, sometimes when it comes to films, even the most predictable has quite some unexpected twists and this film brings living proof of that.

Running Wild is quite a very good drama about not only fighting for what you love, but the life lessons you can learn in the midst of your fight. A worthy drama with some great performances from its cast.

WFG RATING: B+

ESX Entertainment will be releasing the film in select theaters on February 10, 2017. Check your local theaters for showtimes and locations.

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