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Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Netflix goes 2-for-2 with Best Documentary Feature nominations, after last year’s “The Square”, and now this. And “Virunga” is possibly the more cohesive of the pair, so the movie rental service (and lately, original programmer) is getting better at the game. Of course, the best news remains that if you are paying for the Netflix streaming service, you can watch it right now for “free”. A stirring and vital documentary concerning the conservation of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “Virunga” deseves your attention. You see Britain’s Soco International wants to explore the land in question for oil deposits–however it happens to be the habitat of the world’s dwindled population of mountain gorillas. Can activists and concerned rangers stop the poaching and desecration that threatens to bring a species to the brink of extinction? Director and writer Orlando von Einsiedel works to make sure that we get an extreme close-up look, at the intrinsic and dangerous work that a group of preservationists take on, to make the continued thriving of the animals a certainty. The film contains some of the most thrilling and infuriating hidden camera work I’ve ever witnessed, plus a load of compelling human “characters” to complement the fascinating world of the primates. This is terrific stuff, that may be upsetting to some in spots, but remains tasteful yet probing throughout. Plus, it sounds great, and looks even better–an overall excellent home-viewing experience, for all of us non-fiction devotees. Don’t miss “Virunga”.

Grade:  A-

next up:  Oscar Predictions 2015


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