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Breaking Free (1995)

Review: "Breaking Free"

17 October 2002 - "Breaking Free" is probably the best movie ever made about a blind horse jumper.

This might NOT be true if there are any OTHER movies about blind horse jumpers.

Jeremy London stars as "Rick Chilton," a 17-year-old juvenile delinquent who gets a chance to work as a stable boy at a ranch for blind kids instead of having to stay in the detention center. I'd like to say that London is a "bad boy with a capital B," because I like the sound of that phrase. But it's completely untrue. If you put London's portrayal of "Rick" in a lineup, he'd probably be picked out to be the first counselor in the priest's quorum. He is locked up because his parents died or something and he ran away from his uncle, and did some petty crimes, but there's just no getting around the fact that he's really, really, really not a bad guy. Yet the plot seems to indicate that he's supposed to be worse than he seems. The adult detention counselor (warden?) seems to think that Rick is trouble with a capital T, but that animosity is never believable

Rick was raised around horses, and loves working with them, so he is thrilled to have a chance to work at the ranch instead of digging ditches as part of work detail at the detention center. He is surprised when he arrives at the camp and finds that it is a camp for blind kids, but he soon settles in and turns things around in the neglected horse stable.

He soon meets a new guest at the ranch -- a newly blind former gymnast named Lindsay Kurtz (played by Gina Philips). Lindsay is extremely unfriendly and doesn't even want to be at the camp. She hasn't adjusted well to being blind. She exhibits a major case of Bad Attitude.

Well, if you've seen a few After School Specials, you know exactly where the whole movie is going. There will be attitude changes for Rick and Lindsay. They'll fall in love or something approximating it, and share a kiss. (I guess there are no ethical restrictions preventing stable boys from fraternizing with ranch guests.) There will be a bunch of horse riding, a harrowing rescue of a helpless little blind boy on a cliff above a raging river, etc., etc.

I didn't know anything about the movie, so the biggest surprise for me was when Lindsay decides she wants to compete in a nearby horse jumping competition, as a regular competitor among sighted riders. Can a blind person do this? is a question many people in the movie ask. Lindsay is so determined to jump horses competitively because she misses the rush she got competing as a gymnast. So if I understand correctly... She can't do gymnastics as a blind person, but she can jump horses? I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't know a lot about blind athletics. To its credit, the movie really sells the idea of Lindsay training to jump horses. She uses auditory clues to keep her bearings, and she counts paces, etc. And, after all, the horse does much of the work. Few concrete details were provided, but there were enough that I was willing believe it.

The whole thing about the little blind boy who goes horseback riding in the middle of the night and gets lost and attacked by wolves and ends up hanging from a cliff face. That was a bit melodramatic. And I wondered why in the world Rick took Lindsay with him to search for the boy. Other than the fact that she's the female lead in the movie, there seemed to be no reason to do so.

I was also annoyed by Rick's juvenile delinquent friends who plan to help Rick break free from the ranch (which he actually enjoys being at), so they can escape to New York City. This is despite the fact that Rick has only a few weeks left to finish serving his sentence, and he'll be completely free anyway. Completely idiotic. But I guess if they were highly intelligent, they wouldn't be juvenile delinquents with warrants out for their arrest.

There's also a stock character pretty-boy jerk camp counselor who resents Rick, a romance between the detention center warden and the camp director, and a few other plot elements like that which do little to enhance the movie.

"Breaking Free" was directed by David MacKay and produced by David Anderson for Leucadia Film Corporation. Leucadia is the Utah-based film production company which made feature length family-friendly films, including Sterling Van Wagenen's "Alan & Naomi", Blair Treu's "Just Like Dad", "The Paper Brigade" and "Wish Upon a Star", and "Windrunner", written by Mitch Davis. Like all Leucadia films (except for the theatrically-released "Alan & Naomi), "Breaking Free" went straight to the video and TV movie market. That's a good thing, because by no means is it up to the standards of theatrically-released feature films. It should even be classified as a "lesser" Leucadia film. Although all of the company's movies are low-budget productions, most of them at least have a little more life and character than "Breaking Free."

The acting isn't bad. The cinematography is very straight-forward and serviceable. The movie has no objectionable content, which is good.

Unfortunately, the main character arcs for Rick and Lindsay, as well as their relationship, are predictable within the first few minutes of the movie. Overall, the film is competently made, but it just seems flat. Except for the unusual matter of blind horse jumping, "Breaking Free" is a forgettable film.

"Breaking Free"
Opening Credits
as they appear in the film





Jeremy London

Gina Philips

Megan Gallagher

Adam Wylie

Christine Taylor

Scott Coffey

Briane Krause

and Nicolas Surovy as Mae

Casting by
Mary Margiotta
Karen Margiotta

Production Designer
Mark Hofeling

Bret Marnell

Director of Photography
Christopher Faloona

Music Composed
and Conducted by
Steve Dorff

Don Schain

Story by
Barbara Clark Wanbaugh

Screenplay by
Barbara Clark Wanbaugh
Virginia Gilbert

Produced by
David Anderson

Directed by
David MacKay

"Breaking Free"
Closing Credits
as they appear in the film

Cast of Characters
Rick Chilton Jeremy London
Lindsay Kurtz Gina Philips
Dolly Rankin Adam Wylie
Annie Sobel Megan Gallagher
Mae Lawton Nicolas Surovy
Brooke Kaufman Christine Taylor
Blitz Scott Coffey
Clay Nelson Brian Krause
Cal Morris David Jensen
Buster Higgins Jesse Bennett
Joey Matt Bohling
Mr. Kurtz Michael Flynn
Mrs. Kurtz Margo Swena O-Very
Lillian Morris Diane Kay Grant
Lizzie Marnie West
Tim John R. Turner
Schaef Heath Pillar
Hallsie Greg Whiteley
Syd Rebecca Hunt
Judge Richard Clark
Announcer Fred Willecke
1st Rancher Tom Proctor
Bar Patron Glenn Edwards
Gymnastics Announcer Kathy Johnson
Band "My Sister Jane"
Marth Bourne
Sally Shaum
Shelley White
Julie Lueders
Trace Wiren

Stunt Coordinator George Fisher
Stunts Kathy Johnson
Kristen Kenoyer
Heather Irbinskas
Bobby Porter
Diane Kay Grant

Production Manager
Cristen Carr Strubbe

First Assistant Director Matias Alvarez
Second Assistant Director Miriam Epstein
Assistant to Mr. Anderson Susan Sandack
Assistant to Mr. Schain Shauna Miller
Production Coordinator Kerry Shea
Production Accountant Jeff Crane
Second Unit Directors of Photography Brian Sullivan
Pat Reddish
First Assistant Camera Van Flesher
Second Assistant Camera John Mans
Steadicam Operator Mark Moore
Additional Camera Assistant Robert (Dobber) Price
Camera Production Assistant Jeff Johnson
Still Photographer Merrie Weismiller Wallace
Gaffer Stephan Schultze
Best Boy Electric Michael Cook
Electricians Doug Arnold
Jeff Rosenblatt
Additional Electricians Roger Stoddard
Paul L. Deely
Key Grips Alvin Simmons
Kevin Kennedy
Best Boy Grip Julie Fife
Dolly Grip John Strubbe
Grip Jacob Thomas
Additional Grips Duncan Filson
Douglas Patrick
Darren McLaughlin
Production Sound Mixer Douglas Cameron
Boom Operator Joseph Garrard
Prop Manager John Harrington
Set Decorator Chris Griffis
Set Dresser Rick Curtis
Property Assistant Lu Prickett
Swing Gang Mike Jones
Ben Fox
Brad Thomas
Carpenters Andrew Novetzke
Doug Nydegger
Head Animal Wrangler Gene Walker
Assistant Animal Wrangler Bobby Lovgren
Hero Horses Provided by Sled Reynolds
Background Horses Provided by Lamont Christensen
Wolf and Dog Provided by Clint Youngreen
Owl Appears Courtesy of Utah's Hogle Zoo
Handled by Bill Lloyd
   Animal Technician
Rich Hendron
   Education Curator
Wardrobe Designer Barbara Joan Nelson
Wardrobe Supervisor Ryan McCormick
Costumer Amy Roberts
Key Makeup and Hair Robin Michelle Stepp
Assistant Makeup/Hair Troy Lunt
Special Effects Allen L. Hall
Bob Williams
Location Manager Marshall D. Moore
Location Assistant Ellen Schiess
Key Set Production Assistant Tobijah Tyler
Production Assistants/Set Alan Boardman
Win Whittaker
Office Production Assistants Kimberly Harwood
Jacqueline Watney
Karl Huddleston
Script Supervisor Mary Jo Conder
Accounting Assistant Tamara C. Williams
Assistant to Mr. McKay Shirlee Wilson
Production Officer/Editing Intern Rachel Long
Catering by Viking's Feast
Craft Service Terrance Frees
Craft Service Assistant Jim L. Jones
Set Medics Provided by Event Medical Services, Inc.
Security Provided by Rick Bailey
Studio Teacher Cindy Fischer
Transportation Coordinator Barry J. Tuttle
Transportation Captain Bob Alcott
Driver #1 Doug Nydegger
Motorhome Driver DeAnne Anderson
Van Driver Karen Raby
Honeywagon Driver Paul Thomas
Camera Car Driver Ray Tostado
Utah Casting by Reider, Bass, Irwin & Associates
Marcia Dangerfield
Extras Coordinator Linda Bearman
Stand-In for Mr. London Jeff Johnson
Stand In for Ms. Philips Kimberlee Gates
Stand-In for Mr. Wiley [Adam Wylie] Lincoln Anderson
Stand-In for Ms. Gallagher Sheryl L. Wardell
Stand-In for Ms. Surovy Robert Tiller
First Assistant Editor Lori Petersen
Second Assistant Editor Kelly Edmunds
Editorial Intern Marcie Sorenson
Post Production Supervisor Shauna Miller
Re-Recording Services Magmasters Studios
Re-Recording Mixers James G. Williams
Tom Ruff
Vern Poore
Recordist Diane Linn
ADR Mixer Beau Biggart
Supervising Sound Editor James Troutman
ADR Editor Gonzo
Sound Editorial Daniel Thomas
Sam Gemette
Michael Virnic
Clancy Troutman
Background Editorial Bill Fox
Assistant Sound Editor Salene Stevens
Foley Mixers Jeffrey Heyveld
Al Gomez
Foley Artists Casey Crabtree
James Bailey
Evie Dutton
Loop Group Provided by Ginny Tyler
Ultra-Stereo Consultant Daniel W. Victor, Jr.
Titles and Opticals by Cinema Research Corporation

Cameras Provided by
Otto Nemenz

Negative Cutters Chris & Gary Weber
Color Timer Ray Morfino
Color by Fotokem Laboratories


Recorded by

Music Recorded at LA East Studios
  Salt Lake City
Music Mixed at O'Henry Soundstudios
Music Scoring Engineere Rick Riccio
Second Engineer Robert Abeyta
Assistant Engineer Jeff Isaac
Music Editor Chris Ledesma
Orchestrated by Larry Herbstritt
Orchestra Contracted by Robin Leishman

Music Performed by
The Greater Salt Lake Symphony

"Between You and Me"
Written by Martha Bourne
Performed by My Sister Jane

"New Amsterdam"
Written by Martha Bourne and Kate Reddy
Performed by Sister Jane

"On the Wings of Forever"
Performed by B.J. Thomas
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Written and Performed by
Douglas A. Snider & Paul Overstreet

Sincere Appreciation for the Following:
Utah Film Commission
Francis Blend School (For the Blind)
Training by Colleen Morrison
Robert A. Day and
The Utah State Division of Services
for the Visually Handicapped
Accessability Technologies, Inc.
Mobility Services
Great Salt Lake Council - B.S.A. - Camp Tracy
Saltair Farms-Kari Swainston
Hayes Brothers Buick-Jeep-Eagle
Brackman Bros., Salt Lake City
Blimpie - Subs and Salads

Music by
Packer Productions, Inc.
for Leucadia Film Corporation

Copyright © 1995
Leucadia Film Corporation
All Rights Reserved

The animals used in this film were in no way mistreated and all
scenes in which they appeared were under strict supervision
with the utmost concern for their handling.

The persons and events portrayed in this motion picture are
fictitious. No similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is
intended or should be inferred.

This motion picture is protected under laws
of the United States and other countries. Any unauthorized
exhibition, distribution or reproduction of this motion picture or
videotape or any part thereof (including the soundtrack) may
result in servere civil and criminal penalties.


Web page created 5 October 2002. Last modified 17 October 2002.