Film
9:35 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Walker's Three to See: The Elephant in the Living Room

KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker shares his top movie pick of the week.

Michael Webber's insightful yet disturbing documentary examines the largely unregulated phenomenon of people buying and housing such exotic pets as lions, alligators and chimpanzees. Though it occasionally plays news reports of people getting killed or injured by such pets, two men form the main narrative: Tim Harrison, a public safety officer who has had exotic cats but now works to help rescue them outside Dayton, OH; and Terry, a sad character who keeps a lion and lioness in a rusted-out horse trailer in his front yard. The men start their relationship as adversaries, but come to be friends, while the situation grows more dire after the lioness gives birth to 3 cubs. Harrison is also shown going undercover at a Reptile Expo, where families buy baby alligators for their kids, and poisonous African snakes are being sold in containers from Target, but it's the the plight, care and future of the lions that give the movie a story (one that ends both gladly and tragically) you can really sink your teeth into. (Glenwood)