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By Phil Hall | May 17, 2006

Roy McDonald’s “Far as the Eye Can See” is a short drama about an emotionally upset young woman (Danielle Fradette) who reacts to the death of her mother and her father’s demand to sell her pet horse for slaughter by running away – with the horse. She motors across New Mexico with the horse in a trailer, but in a weird accident her truck breaks down next to a water tower on a deserted farm. The horse’s trailer is pinned against the water tower, preventing the animal from getting out. She is unable free the horse and she almost kills herself falling from the water tower (which she attempts to climb to get water for the thirsty horse). Both the woman and the horse are out in the hot New Mexico desert sun while the woman’s father (who belatedly discovers their absence) mounts his own horse and gallops about the open desert searching for them.

The story is admittedly absurd and the notion of the horse dying from heat and thirst does not make for pleasant viewing. It also doesn’t help that Danielle Fradette’s acting is not the least bit convincing (there’s plenty of pouting and posing, but no genuine emotion).

However, “Far as the Eye Can See” has wonderful 35mm cinematography by Brian McAward (the New Mexican landscape hasn’t looked this good in movies in ages) and a rare appearance by Frances Dee McCrea, a Hollywood star of the 1930s and 1940s who has been off the screen for too long (she’s not on screen that much, though, playing the grandmother of the horse-napper woman). And animal lovers need to fret – no horses were mistreated in the production of this short (it’s all acting, and the horse is very good at it!).

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