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Virunga offers a heart-rending glimpse of natural wonders vulnerable to the atrocities of greed -- and the people devoting their lives to defending them.
All Critics (21)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (21)
| Rotten (0)
The result is gorgeous and wrenching, the indelible chronicle of a impossible but essential fight.
With enough action, pathos, suspense, venal villains, stalwart heroes and endangered gorillas for a dozen fiction films, von Einsiedel's extraordinary documentary Virunga lays out the complex of deadly forces threatening the titular national park...
Powerful doc pairs naturalism with political turmoil.
Urgent investigative report and unforgettable drama, "Virunga" is a work of heart-wrenching tenderness and heart-stopping suspense.
"Virunga" wrenches a startlingly lucid narrative from a sickening web of bribery, corruption and violence.
The fights Virunga documents couldn't feel more urgent. This is one of the year's most compelling and important films.
"Virunga" crackles with excitement as much as incitement as it vividly allows the audience to experience the park rangers' struggle to preserve their country's fragile infrastructure firsthand.
It is a saddening look at the environmental consequences of corporate expansion and the innocent lives and creatures lost because of money.
Virunga's biggest strength lies in never attempting to be one kind of documentary. There's an element of uncertainty, a sense of anxiety that one feels watching the film as at any moment it feels that something will go horribly wrong.
Virunga is a potentially paradigm-shifting entry in the genre that deserves the kind of support and attention Blackfish and The Cove received.
Creates a startling and tense glimpse into what it feels like for the regular folk of the area when the militias come rolling in and mortars start exploding.
What makes von Einsiedel's film work so well is the human - and gorilla - face that he gives to the problem.
Virunga is the name of a National Park in eastern Congo. This documentary with what must be several camera operators makes you feel like you are there. We meet several of the rangers working to protect the park at three different stations. We meet some young orphaned mountain gorillas being cared for by one ranger (Andre). We meet a Belgian officer making a stand with his fellow rangers against rebel forces working for a corporate entity that wants to drill for oil under Virunga's large lake. And we meet a young French journalist (Melanie) who captures undercover video of subcontractors working for this same corporation with appalling ideas about the African people and their natural resources. Objective journalism of standing behind a camera and watching atrocities happen be damned. These people risk their life to share this story and uncover the true cost of corporate greed.
Seeing as Netflix has a large number of successful films and original shows under their belt, I had no doubt that their first Oscar-Nominated documentary feature would be impressive. "Virunga" follows a group of people whom during the war, have only one focus, to protect the dying species of Mountain Gorilla's in their town. The powerful interviews, spliced with the brutal visuals of war, really makes for an engaging picture. When a Documentary has a Cinematographer who knows exactly what to put in frame to keep an audience engaged, it is that much more interesting, because not only is the information getting across, but viewers can actually get a feel for themselves about the environment of this situation. "Virunga" may not be the best documentary, but it is so impressively put together that it can not be ignored. I highly recommend this film to both fans and non-fans of documentaries.
An important, eye-opening and infuriating documentary that shows the effort that has been made by those who are fighting in Congo for the protection of the wild life in the Virunga National Park against the unscrupulous interests of the revolting SOCO International company.
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