Like the experiment itself, "Project Nim" morphs from something inspiring and often humorous to a pointed and disturbing portrait of arrogance run amok. Greed and glory end up overriding decency and altruism, and it's heartbreaking to watch.
After watching "Project Nim," a distressing portrait of a misguided 1970s language experiment, you'll be glad you're not a chimp in a cage. But you might want to revoke your membership in the human race.
What makes this film especially engrossing is that what happened between that chimp and the humans with whom he spent his life in intimate contact turns out to be only half the story that Marsh, who directed the electrifying "Man on Wire," has to tell.
A darkly hilarious social portrait of the bizarre alternate universe of 1970s academia and an extraordinary biography of a non-human individual, on whom all sorts of human desires and ideologies were projected.