Gorillas in the Mist Movie Review
Gorillas in the Mist is a 1988 drama film directed by Michael Apted and starring Sigourney Weaver. It is such a strong, important movie.
It tells the true story of Dian Fossey, a naturalist who saved mountain gorillas from poaching in Rwanda. This is such a heartbreaking film that is necessary for everyone to see and learn as it really happened and this woman did such an admirable job basically on her own saving this species. The film’s running time is somewhat long, but it is always an involving and entertaining animal film that is a must see for any animal lover. I really liked how it started on such an adventurous tone that hooked me in instantly. And the entire movie is sort of an adventure, but the one that really happened. The ending is also strong, but some of the middle parts are admittedly problematic, but more on that later.
Yes, the character development in Gorillas in the Mist is definitely troublesome. Weaver is excellent herself, but the character never was fully realized and Dian Fossey deserved a better and more real portrayal. And some of her personality traits such as anger issues are entirely omitted which is unfortunate. I liked the character, but she needed to be better as this is her movie. Sembagare is endearing and the relationship between the two is very charming. As for Campbell, he was boring to me, but the two did have some effervescent, romantic scenes.
The acting is great here. I am such a big fan of Sigourney Weaver and this is undoubtedly her finest performance to date. She shines in this role and the casting director in particular is to praise because she fits this role like a glove. She was amazing not only in her more charming and humorous scenes, but also in her more dramatic and emotional ones. She is fantastic and deserved her Oscar nomination without a doubt.
Gorillas in the Mist is a technically splendid picture. The scenery is gorgeous to look at and Rwanda is just beautiful. The more action-oriented scenes are wonderfully executed and the scenes with the gorillas are the highlights as they are either majestic or really sweet. And the score is really good as well. The directing is also pretty good, but the editing could have been better.
The film is a wonderful adventure as well as an important biographical drama. And the subject matter I thought was really well dealt with here and the film is emotionally powerful and even devastating in some scenes. However, what I found problematic is the film’s use of violence. It is way too difficult to watch at times and I really, really did not need to see a headless gorilla. That scene disgusted me and made me angry and it shouldn’t have been included. It may be necessary to some, but to me it was an excursion into a sadistic territory. But the movie thankfully is mostly devoid of such scenes with just that one being repulsive.
Gorillas in the Mist is one of the better animal movies and is very underappreciated in my opinion. But it did receive its five Academy Award nominations with the Best Actress nod for Sigourney Weaver being much deserved. But those technical ones are a mixed bag. It did deserve nominations for sound and score, but not so much for script and editing. But overall, the film is really well made and to me an essential film of this type.