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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Congo

Starring: Dylan Walsh, Laura Linney
Director: Frank Marshall
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 108 Minutes
Release Date: June 1995
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense

*Also starring: Ernie Hudson, Joe Don Baker, Tim Curry, Stuart Pankin, Grant Heslov, Marry Ellen Trainor, James Karen

Review by Pedro Sena
2 stars out of 4

CONGO is a story, and film, that wants to be appreciated. But there may be a problem with it, in that if it isn't the writer's fault, then it is the director's, in that they can't make up its mind wether it wants to be an adventure film into the heart of a jungle to find something mysterious, or another story that uses the jungle as a backdrop for its own motives, which are pathetic, and boring.

It's hard to conceive that the writer, who has had many successful works done into film, would not have considered this option, and stayed away from the adventure film syndrome.

Basically, it is the story of a group of people that are hired to go after some diamonds, clean and uncut, in an area in Congo that is historical and is believed not to exist except in fairy tales, and local folklore. But, apparently, the main reason why it is considered to be so mysterious is because it has, somehow, kept every single person that has gone near its spot, thus adding to its misery.

And the group that is assembled is a variety of misfits that have different agendas, and all vicious in their own way. And the leader of the expedition, is a black man who is actually a mercenary, who is involved in several political intrigues, some of which involve all the chances he can to make sure that his group also gets the treat they want. The corruption of many African states and their government, is just a slight bit in this film. But the film is no dummy, and the writer no less so. Basically all the characters are corrupt in their own way. They are all overly infatuated with their own agendas. With the exception of one man, who has come on the same plane to bring a gorilla back to its own home. This gorilla is special. It has learned to talk, through a few instruments, and this communication helps many of them pass their way through the jungle and into the place they are looking for, which just happens to be there unexplored by the human eye.!!!!!

But the expedition that is meant to take this gorilla back to its home, has problems, and ends up getting added to another group that has different objectives in the same place.

While CONGO, has its moments, it also has its drawbacks, even if, at the end a form of justice is served and done.

The best acting work in this film is served by the gorillas ( David Anthony is magnificent ), who are pretty darn good, and a few small roles here and there, including Tim Curry. Aside from that, CONGO is a well designed film, and technically well done, were it not that all these resources get wasted in the hands of someone whose direction is questionable, or the book itself just isn't good enough. Maybe if it was just another adventure story, it might have been more interesting.... like reversing the roles, and going to hire the gorilla trainer and its sidekick, to help along, instead of using the pretext that one man is returning this trained gorilla to its roots, which, to this reviewer diminishes the character of the film. One can't help wonder if the Berkeley ( wouldn't you know it !!! ) student that is trying to return the gorilla also has alterior motives of his own.

The jungle is full of surprises, and a different group of gorillas is also involved, and they end up getting trampled, along with a complete destruction of the whole area in general.... they do archeologists a great favor by burying the whole thing in the inner part of the mountain amidst an exploding volcano..... how timely, too....

Use your money on something else, unless you like to see people acting as gorillas, in which case this movie is excellent. The gorillas are the show, not the bad ones.....

Copyright 1995 Pedro Sena

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