Unlocking the Cage (2016)
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Critic Reviews for Unlocking the Cage
For those less familiar with her life, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise should serve as a bracing introduction, and as an inducement to dive into her prose, poetry and speeches.
At a time when so many cinematic arguments are cast in black-and-white terms, tipping the scales in one direction, it's refreshing to see one that's content to present a case that leaves room for several shades of gray.
The powerful filmmaking duo of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker somehow turn Wise's quest into a compelling and noble tale, no matter what your thoughts are on the views presented.
The picture is essentially a brief for Wise's case. And as such, it's as dry and uncinematic as a dusty legal document.
Makes a worthy case for reconsidering the sturdiness of laws that explicitly separate humans from animals.
It's a tricky narrative challenge to shift from inherently compelling wildlife scenes to abstract courtroom debate, but the film manages it capably, even spicing things up with one justice's admonition that Wise needs to cut his slavery analogies.
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