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Zoo [DVD]

John Paulsen , Robinson Devor    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 3.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: John Paulsen
  • Directors: Robinson Devor
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Revolver Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Aug 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000S6UZRY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,782 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Zoo tells the story of a seemingly average businessman whose secret sexual life led to his shocking death. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robinson Devor, the film explores the ensuing media coverage and public outcry that uncovered a secret community, in Enumclaw Washington State, of apparently upstanding citizen s who share this extreme and exotic appetite, revealing the enormous gulf between what we appear to be and who we really are. Inspired by the events that led up to, and following, the Enumclaw, horse incident, Zoo is a provocative and compelling look at one of the most sensational and tragic news stories of recent times.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious, hypnotic and moving 19 May 2011
Format:DVD
Upon getting hold of a copy of Zoo, my girlfriend asked me what it was about. I ummmed and aaahhh before informing her that it is in fact a documentary about a man who died from internal injuries, caused by having sex with a horse. That's putting it nicely. I may have even used the phrase 'bummed to death'. She then asked me why I would want to watch a film about such a thing. I couldn't reply. The fact is, since Zoo was released back in 2007, I had been dying to see it. I don't know what that says about me. Perhaps it's revealing my disturbing levels of curiosity about all things that shouldn't really be discussed. Anyway, I had the last laugh, as the film is genuinely very good.

On a small farm in King County, Washington, groups of men would get together every now and then to escape their hectic lives and family. They would talk, drink, joke and play games together. They also had one thing in common - they were in love with horses, and enjoyed having sex with them. When a withdrawn character called Mr. Hands arrived at the farm, the men were curious. He seemed unsure and unattached. In 2005 he was rushed to the hospital, dying of internal injuries. He subsequent death caused a media storm and the investigation uncovered the farm and what was happening there. The state was forced to immediately pass laws against beastiality and the recording of the act.

While it would be quite easy to make a joke of the situation, or to make a straight-laced documentary uncovering the seedy goings-on at the farm and the incident that later became known as 'the Enumclaw horse sex case', credit must go to director Robinson Devor for creating something entirely different. It was completely not what I expected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood masterpiece 7 Feb 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An absolutly fantastic stab at the art of documentary filmmaking, filled to the brim with beautiful music, a fantastic approach to the act of cinematography and a vile but fasinating story .
If you can look beyond the heinous crimes perpetuated by men of questionable character, then there is so much beauty to be found among the muk.
I advise you to look and listen.

Enjoy.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn-o-Rama 2 Sep 2009
Format:DVD
Really beautifully filmed but God, hard to follow. It's all filmed as if you already know what's going on - I bought this following a great review and the Amazon blurb, but truth be known it's like reading the clippings, not the whole page, of an interesting news article. From what I can gather (I was nodding off) there's some sort of horse sex community ring going around Seattle and one chappy dies in the act (makes sense when you think about size scales - yup, this guy wasn't giving if you follow...). His death opens up the whole shebang to the public and...something...probably...yawn...comes of it...in the words of Morrissey - "If I were you I wouldn't bother."
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Um, what? 16 July 2011
By Asbo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Not really sure what the hell was going on in this film. It seemed to go on for weeks with no real story or goal, I remember vaguely waking up half way through sweating and disorientated on the sofa. I think they like horses.....but there was no horses anywhere....Americans are weird.

If this is the sort of thing that employees of boeing get up to in their spare time then I'm buying shares in Airbus.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More David Lynch than Michael Moore 6 Jan 2008
By Ty Arthur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Many people were probably very angry upon reaching the end of Zoo when they realized that they had not just watched a documentary, they had watched an art house film deceptively packaged as a documentary. Zoo eschews all standards of documentary filming such as factual content or video interviews, and instead strives to amaze viewers with flashy cinematography, a haunting musical score, and existential self-referential segments that have little or no connection with the subject matter of the documentary. The potential audience for this film should be warned ahead of time that it provides few solid facts about the events in question, sheds no new light on the subject of bestiality, and fails to provide any insight into why human beings would choose to make love with animals.

Zoo is nominally about the events leading up to Kenneth Pinyan's death due to a perforated colon when he engaged in anal intercourse with an Arabian stallion on videotape, as well as the individuals in Pinyan's life who encouraged or were at least indifferent to his interest in bestiality. The word "nominally" may be giving Zoo too much credit, as it never even provides Pinyan's name, instead solely using his online moniker "Mr. Hands". None of the individuals associated with Pinyan, from the group of people who identify themselves as living the zoo lifestyle that he met with regularly to engage in acts of bestiality, to his ex-wife and child, or even the police and prosecutors involved in the aftermath of his death, are ever shown on screen. Director Robinson Devor choose to use actors to create reenactments of events coupled with the occasional voiceover from audio interviews with a scant few people willing to talk about the issue. These audio tracks and reenactments do not even constitute the bulk of the film, which would have been acceptable if they gave any decent information. The vast majority of Zoo is simply long trailing shots of scenery or people matched with odd color schemes or eerie music. If these non-essential segments were all edited out, Zoo's runtime would be cut down from 80 minutes to somewhere around 30 minutes. There is no denying that Devor has a great talent for camera work and editing, but his talent is not suited to making documentaries.

Devor is so obsessed with producing a specific mood and theme, to the complete detriment of the "plot", that he might as well be directing an Italian giallo. Halfway through the film the actor who portrays a police officer is shown in front of an entirely white background while he talks about his reaction to being asked to act in the film that he is currently acting in. Occasionally throughout this monologue the screen flashes black, leaving a white ghost trail of the actor's silhouette. This sort of ploy crosses the line from artsy to self indulgent, especially considering that the monologue has only the most tenuous of connections to Pinyan or the zoo lifestyle. Perhaps Devor was trying to show that a subject as bizarre as animal love and the men who would risk potential death to take part in it could not successfully be explained by a straight forward exposition of events, but instead required a broader look at people and their environments in general that requires multiple viewings to really sink in.

Looking for an avant garde or artsy film to blow your mind with odd camera angles and off the wall color schemes? Look no further than Zoo. Those who actually wanted to learn something about Kenneth Pinyan or the mindset of people who would engage in such deviant acts can pass on this one.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars could have been much more substantial 27 Sep 2007
By Viva - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
If they hadn't spent so much footage on seemingly endless tracking shots of highways and byways, the filmmakers could have gone more into depth as to what causes bestiality urges in some people, the online communities they are involved in, and more. As it stands, the documentary is not very insightful in the long run. It feels as if it's only the first chapter in a series that will probably not be continued.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Go There 28 Sep 2007
By "Rocky Raccoon" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I've always thought there had to be more. Ever since the breaking news of Kenneth Pinyan's death, I have never liked the treatment his story was given. Either the object of tasteless jokes or scathing condemnation, his death has left a void that needed to be filled. Mostly, famed director Robinson Devor's documentary, 'Zoo,' doesn't do much to fill that void, but maybe no documentary can.

Mostly a reenactment, 'Zoo' traces back the account by actors who go to the facility where guests would engage in bestiality with stallions at a stable just outside of Seattle. Hooking up via the anonymity of the Internet, Pinyan (bka "Mr. Hands") and others from many regions joined up to spend time with one of the prized horses. Using eerie, low-ebbed synthesizer music, the film has a lurid quality as it unveils alienated men who bond through tequila and space exploration videos, making their way later solo to pair off with horses often in the middle of the night. Much of the photography is meant to touch on the aesthetics of the environs and equestrian beauty, but the analysis of the human aftermath is few and far between. One of the better aspects touches on the profile of the men: Varying in socio-economic and religious backgrounds, all of them seem tragically alone.

Much of the footage focuses on Pinyan who died one night after an encounter ruptured his colon. As the news headlines flashed across, it became one of those tragic, novelty human interest stories. Devor survey's some of those reactions. Anyone from CNN to Rush Limbaugh is given space, but then they go to some witnesses. Part of the testimony is about the behavior of the key people; some of the rest of the testimony has experts going over evidence of alleged abuse to the horses.

While I usually think it is the execution rather than the subject matter that wins for a documentary, I was looking for more insight. In place of so many animal experts analyzing the alleged abuse to the stallions in a nonconsensual setup, it would have been better to have psychologists analyze the human situation. Besides retracing the events before his death, they show the incremental steps as charges came to the fore by law enforcement who didn't have anti-bestiality laws in place in the state of Washington. As the stable manager relates, some people came by dropping religious "tracks" at his doorstep. The best scene is when the stable manager (played by an actor) opens up and honestly admits his inner thoughts after the whole incident. As much as I love animals, I must confess, I couldn't understand their emphasis on the animals' potential post trauma. If I lived near there, I would have left a pie on his doorstep, instead of a track, coaxing and encouraging them back to the human race.

While it isn't fair to expect "Just the facts ma'am," the presentation leaves some huge, gaping holes.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful 27 Jun 2007
By Nicholas Przybyciel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Devor has created an aesthetic masterpiece with this film, which I first saw at Sundance this year. Don't let the debate over the subject matter impact your decision to watch this film. It is too weird and beautiful to focus on such a hollow point. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a good introduction to the Gonzo Filmaking that is sweeping the documentary world.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Benevolent, Esoteric, and Mediocre 10 Dec 2008
By K. Driscoll - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I always find myself drawn to films that challenge our taboos. Little known director Robinson Devor may have known that many movie-goers do the same, and instead of exploiting his subject matter like so many documentarians do, he literally removes any sense of the provoking stigmas associated with the kind of subject matter he explores in Zoo. Interesting approach, because Zoo is an overview of the death of Ken Pinyan, who engaged in receptive penetrative intercourse with a full grown stallion on film, and died from it. Unbeknownst to this particular viewer, this was a fairly well covered story in the Seattle area and even influenced laws regarding lascivious actions using animals in the state of Washington, which were almost nonexistent.

Devor's film covers the story in a vague but provoking way. The atmosphere of the film is eerie but only a rare few of the landscape shots are oddly effective, albeit not incredibly impressive. In addition, the film touches base with quite a few people who were there and knew Pinyan personally, but unfortunately it is done using mostly audio, and that in turn means more mediocre photography. Still, Devor makes humans out of these people when I'd imagine the media wasn't so kind. By the same token, what they do and how Pinyan died is exactly what it is.

The nature of this bizarre subculture is hard to sympathize with and I'm not sure Devor and his team can be accused of doing so, but they still stare unflinchingly into this void. I found the film strangely fascinating and the style it was created with suggests that the filmmaker felt the same way. It's an uncomfortable but clean peak into a world many don't want to even know about. The film garnered moderate praise for its selection at both Cannes and Sundance, but the subject matter alone obviously prevents it from getting further exposure. At the very least, I'm curious what Devor and writer Charles Mudede do next. I would only recommend this to those who can appreciate thoughtful documentaries and are willing to deal with this kind of subject matter.
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