Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story – movie review

Shocking imagery assaults the senses in Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story. This documentary tackles the way we treat our national symbol.

Is the kangaroo a saint or a sinner, a boon or a burden? Those questions are at the heart of the film. It clearly takes the side of those who suggest we’ve treated the marsupial shamefully.

The kangaroo is one of the world’s most recognisable icons. It’s also held a fascination for the directors of this film, Kate McIntyre Clere and Mick McIntyre. They also wrote and produced it; and Mick served as cinematographer.

The pair have woven an unsettling story. People herd kangaroos, shoot them, bludgeon them to death – big ones, small ones and infants.

Sure, the case is made by those who see them as vermin that leave the ground bare for sheep and cattle. But the counter-argument is given far more airtime and, quite frankly, is far more compelling when you see the gravity of the pictures. Some of it is stomach-churning.

In total 46 people are interviewed. Their passion and conviction – and at times their anger – stands out. The government line is painted as the devil’s work and animal rights activists are understandably outraged. I was too, just sitting there watching.

My biggest qualm with the film – apart from the lack of an even-handed approach – was the fact that I felt much of it was repetitive. It said and showed the same things over and over. I didn’t feel there was any logical sequence to the narrative. Having said that, I remain vehemently in favour of protecting and nurturing our native flora and fauna; not beating it into submission.

Director: Kate McIntyre Clere and Mick McIntyre
Release Date: 8 March 2018 (limited)
Rating: MA 15+

Alex First

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