Never before I have seen a documentary like "Zoo". It's not just because of its unusual subject but more so due to the way it got filmed. This is such a beautiful documentary to look at, that doesn't take any of the other classic and familiar documentary making approaches.

The documentary and all of its events are entirely acted out by actors and perhaps a couple of people who were involved by the real life events but I'm not even sure about that. It doesn't feature any dialog but only narration by some persons who were involved with the real life events and yes, that I'm sure off. It has one big advantage that this is an acted out documentary, since it allows director Robinson Devor to set up every scene beautifully. It's really an amazing directed movie that is also incredibly nice looking, with great cinematography and also a good musical score, that all help to set the mood.

It's also not necessarily a straight-forward told documentary. People are just recalling their personal feelings, thoughts and experiences of that time. You can easily start watching this documentary and half way through still have no idea what tragic event has happened or were the documentary is leading up to. There is not one main storyline or person that this documentary is following, which can make this confusing to watch for some people, I'm sure. You constantly have to pay attention to start to figure out what happened. I kind of liked this unusual and original approach, since normally documentaries really aren't part of the most original genre and only are too often different to watch by just its subject.

But still, this documentary isn't really featuring a subject that works out in its own advantage. It's a bit of a still controversial subject and I don't think that this documentary does anything to break this particular taboo, since I don't even think that this was the documentary its goal. And that's also a bit of a problem; I don't even know what this documentary its goal was and what it was trying to achieve. Perhaps it tries to create not sympathy but some understanding for its subject but its unusual approach of its storytelling don't really allow this to ever work as anything effective enough. The documentary is memorable because of its looks but is not powerful and just doesn't impress with its subject.

So you could say that this is a case of style over substance but in this particular case I can take this and accept this documentary for what it is. I'm definitely willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and recommend it to people, since it still manages to do something so beautiful with such a controversial and gross subject.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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