The folks out at Brink DVD sent over a copy of The Zookeeper to review for us today, and I think you’re going to be downright stunned by this dose of World War II-style excitement in one thoroughly engrossing package.
Featuring one of my favorite actors, Sam Neill, The Zookeeper (and please don’t confuse this with the upcoming Kevin James title of the same name, it would insult us all), who finds himself in charge of a zoo in the midst of wartime somewhere in Eastern Europe. Ludovic, a former Communist Party official who’s seen better days, now finds himself in charge of a zoo somewhere in Eastern Europe while all his cohorts flee. Ludovic does his best in the face of dwindling resources to keep the zoon in tact, a difficult proposition considering that partisan bands will occasionally raid the zoo looking for meat stock besides. And things only get worse when a boy and his mother enter Ludovic’s life, making things more difficult–and yet, better–for him. Now Ludovic must not only fight to save the animals, but also the humans, suddenly in his care.
I’ll lead off by saying that I’m certainly biased in favor of Sam Neill, and if I weren’t before, I would be now. The man is a freaky genius, and his skill shows here wonderfully. If you have to put a movie on any one person’s back, Sam Neill is a great place to start looking, and he’s most of the show here. Sure, he’ll have great support as well, but this is mostly his movie.
There’s incredible, yet thoroughly authentic, drama in here, with brilliant portrayals all around. The plot is deep and rich, despite the fact that it all takes place pretty much in a space the size of a city park, give or take. This compressed quality makes the whole thing even more worthwhile by virtue of its relative difficulty.
And when you add a great story together with great performances, well, what you get is a great movie pretty much by default. There are some surprise laughs in here, and plenty of shocks in here as well. The mix is a beautiful, compelling force all its own.
The Screenhead Ten Scale acknowledges a great movie by offering up a ten out of ten to this masterful, moving portrayal of one man who was alone, but found himself thrust into being so much more.