Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
"Gorillas in the Mist" tells us what Dian Fossey accomplished and what happened to her, but it doesn't tell us who she was, and at the end that's what we want to know. Here is a movie that has gone to great lengths to be technically accomplished - the shots of the apes are everything we could wish for - but the screenplay has been skimped on, and there is a person missing here somewhere. We leave the theater feeling that when Fossey was buried in her beloved jungle, the third act of the movie was buried there, too.
The film tells a life story that many people already know.
Fossey was a woman of average achievement and no particular scientific background, but she loved animals and she was deeply disturbed by reports that the mountain gorillas of central Africa were being threatened with extinction. With absolute determination, she convinced Louis Leakey, the guru of African anthropologists, to allow her to man a jungle camp and conduct a census of the gorillas. And over the years she grew into one of the great experts on these fearsome but manlike beasts, learning to imitate their behavior so well that they accepted her in their midst.
Fossey's work was featured in the National Geographic and on TV documentaries. She became a romantic figure, out there almost alone in the wild, protecting "her" gorillas against poachers who sold gorilla hands to be made into ashtrays. Then, in 1985, she was found murdered in her camp, and as more came to be known about her there were many likely suspects. Fossey had grown fanatical about her animals, had all but waged war against the pygmy tribes that were killing them. She had alienated the trappers who procured animals for zoos. And she had made powerful enemies in a government that needed all the foreign currency it could find - and made lots of money off of gorillas.