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Jonah Ludovic, a solitary man living out an unstated but remorseful destiny in a city that is steadily being ground up by civil war, artillery bombardments and mass evacuations. Rather than leave the city, Ludovic continues to go to his job at the local zoo, staying on long after the rest of the staff has fled or been killed. Soon, a wounded boy and his mother join him. Now, they must all struggle to survive.
"The Zookeeper" is one of those films you want to tell a lot about but in doing so I take the chance of ruining it for everyone that is looking forward to seeing it when it makes it's DVD debut on November 23rd. You can tell right away Jonah is a dedicated, loyal man who just wants to do the animals right while a civil war goes on all around him. He gets visited often by some soldiers and when they find a vet is staying with him they take him away leaving Jonah alone to take care of the animals. Before long a boy shows up at his door with a rifle, you can assume the boy is looking to rob Jonah for supplies but the boy is hurt and passes out instead. Jonah decides to keep the boy with him until he nurses him back to health, once able the boy is told he must leave which is understandable with the soldiers making trips to the zoo on a regular basis. The boy leaves but returns with a woman, his mom and now Jonah must decide on letting both stay and risking all their lives or making them leave. As civil war rages in the Czech Republic Jonah does his best to keep them safe while taking care of the animals at the same time. The arrival of the boy and his mom changes Jonah who is use to being a loner and he soon develops a relationship with the woman but in your heart you know things cannot turn out for the best as long as the war continues on.
The story is a slow moving, character piece, a moving and engaging tale that takes the best and worst of human behavior and weaves a tale that captivates you and it has you clued to the screen till the bittersweet end. The story alone, a fresh and original one is remarkable all by itself but what elevates it even higher is the film's cast. We all know Sam Neill is a terrific actor and has played some memorable characters during his career but his role as Jonah might possibly be his best. He brings Jonah to life in a way that leaves you feeling deeply for him and the situation he is in. Gina McKee is also terrific as the mother and Javor Loznica shows great range as the boy. There isn't much to smile about when you watch "The Zookeeper" but it is a very realistic, sober look at war and how it effects people and even animals who had no hand it creating it. Originally released in 2001 I am not sure why it took so long to make it to our shores but after watching it I am sure glad it did, even at nine-years-old the film hasn't aged and I bet it is as powerful now as it was back in 2001. A remarkable film that has you feeling it's effects long after it is over, films like this one don't come around too often so if you like a good drama do yourself a favor and pick this one up. The DVD comes with Special Features that include:
Behind The Scenes
You can order the DVD HERE also make sure you add it to your Netflix Queue as well.
Released by Brink DVD
***** Out Of *****