Portrait of a wildlife warrior
Andreas Faust | Tasmanian Autonomous Zone | 12/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the requisite Hollywood cliches, this is a great film. Dian Fossey didn't know what she was getting into when she volunteered to go to Africa, working for Dr. Louis Leakey in taking a census of the endangered Mountain Gorillas. She didn't realise she was expected to work alone, in a remote mountain hut, and in a country torn by civil war...
But she came to love the subjects of her study so much that nothing could prize her from the mountain, not even the (human) man she eventually fell in love with. "When you look deep into a gorilla's eyes," she wrote, "your life is changed forever."
The blacks thought she was a witch, due to her reddish hair and fierce glance (captured well by actress Sigourney Weaver, although the real Dian was apparently a bit more shy than Sigourney's character). But this witchlike image actually helped to scare the poachers off. And Dian's work helped prevent the gorillas from becoming extinct. But unfortunately she was murdered by cowardly scum...black poachers in the pay of white animal traffickers. Too often the best are cut down before their life's work is finished...
One other thing to note is the incredible beauty of the landscapes, filmed on location in the mountains of Rwanda. The result is a worthy tribute to this wildlife warrior, who is most now probably in Asgard, feasting at Freyja's very table (with a gorilla at her side, no doubt)."
Quite the Close Encounter!
D. Mikels | Skunk Holler | 02/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ah, PBS. Periodically I'll check it, mostly out of moribund curiosity (and little else). Occasionally public television will have something on that warrants a second glance; and recently I stumbled across PBS showing GORILLAS IN THE MIST. As I had never seen this highly-acclaimed Sigourney Weaver movie, I pulled up a chair and watched this powerful biography of environmentalist/animal rights activist Dian Fossey. The viewer is treated to quite the transformation of Ms. Fossey (and Weaver is the convincing vessel)--from meek, timid marm to brash, and quite frankly, petulant and neurotic radical. By the end of this film you don't want to get on Dian Fossey's bad side; of course, several poachers and corrupt government officials do, and things kind of turn out. . .ugly.
But the true wonder and awe of this beautifully filmed movie has to do with the actual contact with wild gorillas, you know, in the mist. These aren't people dressed up as apes, these aren't trained animals--these are the real deal, with Weaver and co-star Bryan Brown and a handful of the other actors making close encounters of the very realistic kind. Especially Weaver; as I watched her interact with the gorillas, as some of them playfully jump over her or groom her, I wondered what was going through director Michael Apted's mind. (Probably something like, "I hope that Lloyd's policy we have on Sigourney is in force!") Filmed in the mountains of Rwanda, this interaction between man (well, woman) and beast is so vividly stunning; I found myself picking my jaw up off the floor more than once. Small wonder Weaver received an Oscar nomination for this role. After holding hands with a wild silver back male she deserved it.
--D. Mikels, Author, The Reckoning"
A Gorilla Was Inducted Into the Royal Society....
Rev. E. A. Hernandez | 03/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ah, well, you mayn't know Kafka, but you don't need to know him to know this film. Or Diane Fossey, the impressive gorilla researcher who was mysteriously machete'd to death for her efforts. This film cleanly, beautifully chronicles Fossey's work, starting with her chasing after Dr. Louis Leakey and ending with her tragic, unsolved murder decades later. The gorillas are beautiful, whether puppet, real or animatronic. The scenery is lavish, and the acting is intense, thought-provoking. All I can say is I was a bit resentful that Diane Fossey's lesbianism was passed over in favor of her love affair with...what's-a-name, that hunky male photog from National Geographic, will Follywood's wonders never cease."