Project Nim

"Excellent"

Project Nim Review


Filmmaker Marsh follows up the amazing Man on Wire with another thoroughly gripping narrative documentary, this time telling the life story of a chimpanzee that was raised as a human. And as his story twists and turns, the film has a lot to say about humans too.

Born at an Oklahoma primate centre in 1973, Nim was taken from his mother after only a few days and sent to live with the LaFarge family in New York. Headed up by Columbia professor Terrace, the project aimed to test nature versus nurture, and to see if a chimp could communicate with humans using sign language. To better control the study, Nim moved into a more controlled environment with trainers Laura and Bill, who after a few years are horrified when Nim is sent back to Oklahoma to live in a cage for the first time in his life.

And Nim's story takes some more turns. At the primate centre, he finds friendship with the playful hippie Bob. But when money runs out, Nim is sold for medical experiments, an event that sparks a legal case before Nim moves to a farm for rescued horses. Through all of this, there are a handful of people who genuinely care about Nim's wellbeing, and they are powerless to protect him. He died in 2000 from a heart attack.

Hearing these people reminisce, it's clear that Nim made a huge impact on their lives. Some trainers became intensely close with him, both as teachers and playmates, and they never blame him when his violent impulses cause serious injuries. Intriguingly, Nim seemed to know that he was a chimp in a human world, learning quickly how to manipulate people, challenging men he saw as a threat and clearly grappling with his wilder instincts.

Marsh assembles this with a strong sense of Nim's life story, so we are gripped to the events as they happen. Remarkably, we experience much of this through Nim's eyes, even as the film refuses to humanise him. So in the end, the film asks some potent questions without ever moralising. Whether or not it was right for these scientists to study Nim, it's clear that the way we treat animals really needs to change.



Project Nim

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th August 2011

Box Office USA: $0.4M

Distributed by: Roadside Attractions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Fresh: 128 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Simon Chinn

Starring: Bob Angelini as Lab Tech, Bern Cohen as Dr. William Lemmon, Reagan Leonard as Stephanie LaFarge

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.