Sunday, November 18, 2018
Video review: "We the Animals"
“We the Animals” won’t be everyone’s bag, but it’s a highly creative and interesting form of moviemaking.
Jeremiah Zagar, a veteran documentary filmmaker, brings to life the novel by Justin Torres about a trio of brothers growing up in a rural area in the 1980s. It eschews a conventional sense of dialogue and plot in favor of imagery and music to convey the boys’ journey.
With both parents stuck working menial night jobs, Manny (Isaiah Kristian), Joel (Josiah Gabriel) and Jonah (Evan Rosado) are left more or less to their own devices. They wander the rustic countryside around their home, get into minor trouble and deal with the crumbling relationship of their parents (Sheila Vand and Raúl Castillo).
Jonah is the writer/dreamer of the family, carefully keeping a sprawling journal consisting of clippings, writings and drawings that he hides underneath the bed the boys share. His musings come to life in gorgeous, disturbing animated sequences. It is through Jonah’s eyes that the story plays out.
After a fearful encounter that includes physical abuse, the father moves out, while the mother stays bedridden for days. The brothers empty the house of food before resorting to shoplifting and stealing from an old man’s vegetable patch to eat. The man takes pity on them and feeds them, leading to a tentative friendship with his grandson.
“We the Animals” is a dreamlike movie that’s beautiful to look at, even when it reveals a lot of the ugliness we all feel inside.
Note: I could not obtain any information about bonus materials.