Directed by Gareth Molan
Starring Dan Wilson, Monty Roberts
Documentary film review by Monica Jowett
Short film Cornish Cowboy is a fantastic example of short documentary filmmaking. Director Gareth Molan has found a subject that is interesting and also fairly unexplored. Set against stunning Cornwall landscapes, this short film is the right combination of entertainment and education.
The film introduces Dan Wilson, the eponymous Cornish cowboy. A horse whisperer, he uses his remarkable talent to train horses of all ages who exhibit all types of behavioural problems. He is a charming man, and shows ease with these magnificent animals; clearly he was born to do this job.
Cornish Cowboy shows how important it is to choose an intriguing subject matter for a documentary, whether feature length or short. The subject of Dan Wilson and his horse whispering technique will be fascinating to all audiences, even if you have little knowledge of horses. The film is also helped by the cowboy himself. As he talks, it is easy to see his passion for the animal and the work he is doing and his stories are ones you yearn to continue listening too.
Cornwall is a stunning county and is the perfect and only place for a ‘cowboy’ to be in the UK. The opening scenes of the film show the gorgeous landscapes and countryside with horses running across it. Though it is not a promotion for tourism in Cornwall, this film could double up as such.
The editing is used creatively in the film. Along with Dan’s voice over we see a blend of shots incorporating scenery, horses, and Dan himself training. Through his narration and the shots, you get a feeling of what Dan’s life is like, doing this fascinating job. Though a short documentary film, you can see how the director and cinematographer have used the stunning visuals that surround Dan and his work to create an immersive, atmospheric film.
The music in Cornish Cowboy is used emotively, and gives the audience a sense that they are watching an actual Western. The dramatic music further conveys the passion Dan has for his job, and the joy he shows for the horse world and the industry as a whole.
Cornish Cowboy combines strong dramatic moments and educational points that are exactly what is needed for a documentary film. The director and subject should be proud with the outcome of this short film.