Project Nim Directed by: James Marsh Starring: Bob Angelini, Bern Cohen, Reagan Leonard Rating: PG-13 Release Date: July 8, 2011
TRAILER SCORE: 8/10
Thoughts by TSR: The title chimp does wear a sweater in this trailer, but that isn't the main selling point of this trailer. In fact, while a movie with a poster similar to Project Nim's could load up on its cute factor, this movie seems to get straight into its point of creating a biography of its center chimp. Immediately the trailer becomes about the similarities between a chimp's brain to our own, which to me serves as an excellent thesis statement. In fact, this trailer could have been a minute shorter, and I probably wouldn't have thought anything different.
James Marsh did something special with his previous Oscar-winning documentary, Man on Wire, and it looks like this is going to be a similar case here. I'll leave my many curiosities about the project itself to a viewing of the full feature, but I'm still wondering as to how so much footage of the project was available, how did Marsh even hear about this concept, and more generally as to how something as affecting as this can seem to come together so genuinely.
As with Man On Wire, it appears that Marsh is about to bring audiences deep into the experience shared by his documentary's subjects. This time, instead of using reenactments, we'll experience visuals that look like intimate home movies, except that the child at the center of our attention is a chimp. This 2:30 trailer alone reminds me that there are incredible stories happening in our world - we don't always have to rely on narrative features to help us discover them.