Rumor has it that Buck Brannaman was the inspiration for Nicholas Evans' novel "The Horse Whisperer," and the horse trainer served as a consultant on the set of Robert Redford's cinematic adaptation.

Rumor has it that Buck Brannaman was the inspiration for Nicholas Evans' novel "The Horse Whisperer," and the horse trainer served as a consultant on the set of Robert Redford's cinematic adaptation.

Rookie director Cindy Meehl spends much of the documentary "Buck" delving into its title character's current life. Traveling around the country to hold horse-training seminars, Buck shows off the gentle techniques that earned him fame, and viewers will find his style engaging.

Buck is a warm, witty cowboy who's never met a horse metaphor he doesn't like. He can take a cheesy line like "Your horse is a mirror to your soul" and make it sound genuine and deep.

The film does take a few darker turns. We learn that during childhood, Buck was physically abused by his father.

Meehl does well not to use that story to manipulate viewers, until a seminar participant brings Buck a wild colt. The film draws a few too many parallels between the man and the horse, especially when Buck scolds the woman for letting the horse reach such a dangerous state.

Perhaps the biggest problem with "Buck" is that Meehl never really shows why its subject deserves a documentary. Still, Buck is an enjoyable character, and his effortless charm is more than enough to carry this film.