Damn, Netflix hit it out of the park with this latest documentary. I love how, over the last few years, the company has managed to bring documentaries to the forefront of their business model. Last year in particular, it became clear that they were willing to find pieces that had serious intentions and legitimate award potential. Virunga is the next step in their process of becoming a legitimate studio.
But obviously that thought should be secondary to what the film Virunga stands for. Because this movie has an incredible message and it builds its point in an impeccable way. Yes, it is a documentary. It is also heart wrenching, exciting, tragic, and legitimately important to our worldview. This is the real life story of a brave group of park rangers living in Eastern Congo. Their only goal is to protect their national park and the animals that live within... most notably, the exceedingly rare mountain gorillas that reside in Virunga. But as a new rebel sect moves in, and with the discovery of oil beneath the region by SOCO, tensions become high and danger becomes imminent.
Orlando von Einsiedel (Director) is maniacal in his capacity to capture the increasingly dangerous events that have been taking place in the region. And I can honestly say I feared for the crew's lives throughout the film. Yet it is not just for the danger they put themselves through to capture these things that I praise them, but for the professionalism they showed in doing so... the high level of quality to which they reached. Virunga is an Oscar contender... and I can only hope, in gaining such a high level of press, the film can actually make a difference to the situation in Eastern Congo.
Catch it on Netflix as soon as you can.