Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (38)
| Top Critics (15)
| Fresh (31)
| Rotten (7)
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.
Hegedus and Pennebaker present a rational argument with no bias needed, and the results are compelling.
Wise's activism is much more nuanced and deals in gray areas. If the result doesn't immediately smack your conscience, that's because the answer is still evolving.
As a documentation of these early stages, combined with a charismatic subject on the hunt for what he feels to be a matter of fundamental justice, Unlocking the Cage is sure to be a film that many audiences will find captivating.
We aren't particularly invested in the chimps we barely see, and the court case doesn't have the high-stakes thrill it should have; the film fails to make us care enough about either of them.
Unlocking the Cage, is an uneven journey that might have benefitted from standing back a step and taking a wider view of the issue.
Directors D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus are renowned for their direct, unmediated filmmaking, and this doc is no different.
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