Review: Unlocking the Cage
By John Corrado
★★★ (out of 4)
Robert Wise is an accomplished lawyer who has dedicated his practise to protecting non-human rights, having spent over thirty years defending animals in court who can’t physically speak for themselves. And now he is the subject of the thought provoking documentary Unlocking the Cage.
Legendary documentary filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker follow him as he mounts a landmark court case trying to grant personhood to other highly intelligent animals, like great apes, elephants and dolphins, who all have a sense of autonomy similar to that of people.
Much of the film revolves around his fight to have chimps rescued from roadside zoos and transferred to sanctuaries, where they can lead more fulfilling lives, and it’s interesting to watch how these cases unfold in court. Robert Wise makes compelling arguments throughout, and Unlocking the Cage provides an engaging introduction to his work that gives us a lot to think about, even if you are already more or less swayed by his cause.
Unlocking the Cage opens today in limited release at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.