TIFF 2013: The Animal Project Review

The Animal Project

The Animal Project

Contemporary World Cinema

Director: Ingrid Veninger

It’s unfortunate that Ingrid Veninger’s new film, The Animal Project, is ultimately unsuccessful as a larger piece, because the scattered moments of human observation that make up the film are almost always careful and poignant. Sadly, the situation created to spark all these moments feels out of touch.

The film stars Aaron Poole as, Leo, a theatre director who’s struggling to get his acting troupe creatively motivated. At the same time, he’s having difficulty raising his teenage son, Sam (Jacob Switzer), as well as getting nasty treatment from one of his actors, Saul (Joey Klein), who he has a history with.

Aaron comes up with an idea to get his troupe motivated, and herein lays the problem with the film. The idea is to put on animal costumes and go around the city, performing any kind of acts in public. The resistance with which this idea is met, and the kind of revelatory experiences it provides its characters, never feels genuine. Luckily, many of the individual moments still work, particularly the relationship between Leo and his son. The people feel real, so it’s a shame the surrounding dilemma does not. (Corey Atad)


Wednesday, September 11, Isabel Bader Theatre, 7:30pm

Thursday, September 12, Scotiabank 13, 5:00pm

Saturday, September 14, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4, 7:45pm