The film, Michael Clayton, came out last year starring George Clooney. It was a legal thriller full of corruption which at times leaves you with a sense of hopelessness for humanity. For those who have seen the film, you can probably guess where I am going. There is a short scene at the beginning and again at the end of the movie involving three horses. Mr. Clooney is in deep and his life is a mess. He is driving through the countryside when his GPS malfunctions. He pulls over and sees three horses standing on the hillside. They are motionless, but they stare at him and he is captivated. He gets out of the car and walks into the field. The horses are simple yet beautiful the way the morning light splashes behind them. A grey, a sorrel, and a bay. He approaches them slowly, almost afraid they will run away. As he gets closer, the two turn away, but the bay holds his gaze. For an instant you see the weight of the world lifted off Clooney and he almost laughs to himself. Then his car blows up behind him and the terrified horses run away.
It is one of the coolest scenes in cinema but it also seems strange, surreal, and must hold some symbolism. I have thought about that scene many times, wondering why it was so simple yet so powerful to watch. For me, the horses stand on the hillside almost as old souls standing in judgement. Their beauty seems to transform him and he is face to face with "grace" steering him to the right path. There could be other meanings. Maybe they conjure up a memory, begging a return to childhood innocence or a more innocent America when Westerns could convince an audience that a moral code was still at work. In India, statues of three horses symbolize success; victory, strength, and perseverance. As George gazed into the eyes of that bay, he saw those things and knew what he needed to do to come out the other side. Maybe he saw the horses as "free." They stood there so majestic, answering to no one and he relished that idea. Maybe he was remembering a line from his friend, "Do you have the horses for that?", in regards to taking on the corrupt company. In seeing these horses, he realizes he has the strength and the power to do the right thing. Some have said the son was reading a book called "Realm and Conquest" that had a page with a horse standing by a tree. When George spots the horses he remembers the book and regrets not reading the book his son kept recommending. I googled some stuff and a book came up called "The love of horses" by Micheal Clayton sold on Amazon. Hmmmm.
Whatever the meaning behind that scene, it is beautiful. Maybe it is the admiration and the awe on Clooney's face that I understand. I feel that pull of fascination every time I look at horses. It draws me out of the house on rainy days, it pushes me to ride farther, to run faster, to seek out that gaze that locks on me and answers all my questions. If anyone has seen the film, I would love to hear your take. If not check it out...did I mention it has George Clooney in it:-)?
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