Canada's B est Kept Secret (2011)
Making me wonder why I hadn't heard of this man.
When it's turn finally came around in the review rotation I looked at the DVD box and I admit, was a bit nervous about what I was about to watch. For me, a title like Canada's Best Kept Secret, about a man I'd never heard of seemed a little odd. But it did have an autograph on the DVD (Thank you!) and it was on the top of the pile. So I took it and popped it in, grabbed some popping corn and prepared myself. How'd things go you ask? I'm sure my rating answers that question, and aside from that let's just say that this indie gem has found it's place on my wall of great independent films. (Yes. I actually have a collection and keep the best displayed). Anyhow, on with the review.
First and foremost. Watch this movie in the intended aspect ratio: 4:3. Don't let your newer, sleek TV try and stretch it out. I feel there should be a disclaimer before the movie starts telling the viewer this. Is it that bad all zoomed and stretched for widescreen? Yes. Fix it before you start. After that you're in for a treat. Even if you have zero love for the wild... or wolves... you'll sit and watch this film from start to finish. It may not be intentional, but it will happen. At least it did for me.
R. D. Lawrence is a man who wrote 30 books, covering numerous topics, but all relating to nature. His work on/with Wolves is the main feature here, and the footage shown and insight is really something. You'll wonder how it is you've never heard of this guy... or maybe you have? Either way, this film is full of old TV footage, home video footage and interviews. TV footage? Yup. Like I said earlier, you'll wonder how you missed this guy. He was writing about stuff decades ago, that is only now coming to the front line in the world debate on nature and pollution. And to watch the footage of him actually interacting with wolves and other various critters is really heart warming. That's not to say the film treated him as a perfect model for humanity. Hidden in there, with the good is also the.... human aspect of the man. My thoughts are that he may have been a bit reclusive (Duh.... He lived in a forest with no human contact for over a year) and maybe at times may have come across as a little cold towards his fellow man. You can be the judge of that. Lucky for him he met and married a strong and seemingly amazing woman who chose to support her husband through his potential... awkwardness. They say that behind every great man is a greater woman. That may be the case here. However, my personal opinion is that the two complimented each other. Either way she (Sharon Lawrence) gets a big thumbs up from me. I, myself can at times be quite reclusive and even a little bitter. Luckily I, myself have a strong wife. Maybe in that respect I see a connection and maybe that's why I liked this film so much.
But, any way you want to slice it this film is an entertaining piece of work. A little slow to start, but before you know it you're hooked. My only complaint? A little long winded at the start. We all like our introductions but there comes a time when the "Meat" of the show has to come into play. In this case the introductions were a little long. Not much, but a bit. I feel I would have scored the film a 4.5+ out of 5 if a tiny bit was edited out of the start.
Final thoughts? If you like Documentaries then you should keep an eye out for this one. Even if you're not a Canadian. It's entertaining and maybe even a little educational. Done right.
I give Canada's Best Kept Secret: The Natural World Of R. D. Lawrence a 4 out of 5.