Interesting but the overuse of the drama and underuse of the contributions reduces the debate and documentary value of the film
A docu-drama looking at the issue of animal experimentation with contributions from those who carry it out and those who oppose. The drama part follows the story of a fictional testing company that has just started experimenting on beagles with a new drug for cancer. However one of the staff is a member of the Animal Liberation Front who has managed to film the animals and the experiments from the inside. So while manager Bob Thornwell starts his two year trial, the local papers are filled with the pictures Danny took before laying low.
Last week in England there was a protest involving hundreds of people protesting against the "minority" who take action to try and stop animal experimentation and it showed yet again that this issue is an explosive one in a country that loves its animals. This film is one of a string of unrelated docu-dramas that channel 4 has been showing recently but it is not one of the better ones even if it does have some strengths. The dramatised plot follows a group of protesters and a specific manager at the testing company but, although interesting, too much is made of it and it is played out as a drama rather than as background re-enactments. They should have been used to spark more debate but it doesn't really work like that and the story comes over as the main thrust of the film and for the majority places the talking heads in the background.
For me that was the wrong decision because the complex nature of the debate is where the important stuff is and this isn't done well enough by the drama alone. The contributions feel staged as well it doesn't feel like any of the people are doing anything other than reading off a script, which is a shame because they were the key part of the film and should have made the drama work better by shoring up every dramatic scene with thoughtful contributions and debate. Of course the subject matter is still strong enough to carry itself passed these problems and the film still makes an interesting debate out of it, although not as strong as I would have liked. The actors are generally convincing enough and it is not their fault that I wasn't really interested in their specific characters. Although no animals were harmed to make the film there is footage from inside labs as well as simulated stuff that is pretty hard to watch and will upset some viewers.
Worth seeing because it is an emotive subject and the film does present both sides pretty well; however the dramatic stuff could have been done so much better and the talking heads contributions should have been allowed to dominate the film because, to be honest, the general debate is of much more interest to me than the specific story involving Danny and Bob.
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