By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog January 31, 2007 at 7:55AM
The talk of the Sundance Film Festival, Robinson Devor’s Zoo conveys, with remarkable restraint, intimacy, and visual daring, the inner worlds of men and the horses they love. Initially, Devor’s clinical approach to the too-nasty-to-be-true dramatization of the widely reported incident from July 2005 of a man who died from a punctured colon after being bare- and broke-backed by a beloved stallion gives way to a surprisingly tender second half, in which all the sensationalism, along with any hint of exploitation, simply falls away, leaving a pure, surprisingly sensuous romance. Harry Potter no more, Daniel Radcliffe, with a newly muscular physique honed from endless hours chained to work-out benches overseen by ruthless chicken-hawk agents and publicists, portrays Kenneth Pinyan, both at ages 17 and 45 (the aging makeup is dramatic and convincing, with full Gyllenhaal throw-pillow under the shirt for good measure). All controversy and salaciousness aside, Radcliffe, who’s legal in England, makes for a prime piece of man-meat ready to be rode beyond the horizon. What’s most refreshing though, is that Devor’s compassionate perspective, rendered by Police Beat cinematographer Sean Kirby in gorgeous colors, perched between the naturalistic and the surreal, never plays the subject matter for cheap laughs.