Connect with us


Review: Zoo

The legacy of Chris Marker weeps when the future of essay filmmaking looks like a feature-length commercial for Ambien.

Photo: THINKFilm

When I first saw mrhands.mpeg online, I don’t recall my initial thoughts on the Internet’s ultimate porn-snuff-in-miniature epic being along the lines of: “This event calls into question many of my previously held presuppositions on the ethical implications of interspecies relations, the spiritual nature of animals’ being that would be expected to fuel a romantic bond, and ultimately the inability for mankind to ever put a clear definition on morality.” My first thought was something more like: “You unspeakable moron! You had to get that close to a horse dick to realize it would tear your plumbing asunder?! I mean, my God, these days even most Mom n’ Pop sex shops stock obscenely elongated dildos that could’ve addressed your evident one-upmanship!” Zoo, a loosely-defined documentary about an even looser anus, dances with coyotes, gazes at the stars in the sky, and ruminates somnambulistically on the shallow boundaries that humanity puts on its own kind. It does everything to avoid actually dealing with whatever intellectual issues surrounding bestiality might actually necessitate discourse. Insistently evocative and deliberately irrational, Zoo’s biggest source of frustration is not that it argues in favor of bestiality (since it can barely be bothered with making an argument in the first place). Even if it did, I’m not sure many in its audience would be phased since, from a moral perspective, most of us would agree that what went down in that barn was in all likelihood a victimless crime in the same sense that I don’t really understand the need for laws against suicide. (The horse ended up being gelded as a result of his owners’ indiscretion, but as the animal was obviously not being put out to stud for breeding purposes, que sera sera.) What wears and eventually tears is director Robinson Devor’s liberally applied cinematic mysticism, which (as many have already noted) has the seemingly counterintuitive effect of further alienating Devor’s chosen subject matter. I’m personally all right with knowing precisely no more and no less about the psychology of bestiality than I did from the obscenities of Freddy Got Fingered (which, in its almost Buñuelian dismissal of civilized structures, probably cuts closer to the heart of the matter than Zoo). But the legacy of Chris Marker weeps when the future of essay filmmaking looks like a feature-length commercial for Ambien.

Cast: John Paulsen, Ken Kreps, Richard Carmen, Coyote, Paul Eenhoorn, Malayka Gormally, Russell Hodgkinson, Karl Holzheimer, Michael J. Minard Director: Robinson Devor Screenwriter: Robinson Devor, Charles Mudede Distributor: THINKFilm Running Time: 76 min Rating: NR Year: 2006 Buy: Video

“Tell the truth but tell it slant”
Sign up to receive Slant’s latest reviews, interviews, lists, and more, delivered once a week into your inbox.
Invalid email address