One Life | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

One Life

A handsomely filmed greatest-hits reel of amusing and resourceful animals, worldwide


This BBC-produced nature doc from Michael Gunton and Martha Holmes is one of those vivid, gorgeously filmed spectacles that creates the impression that our planet is a pristine playground, populated by amusing and resourceful creatures. Because while the film name-checks us — by including man in its organizing narrative about how all living things must be born, find things to eat and not get eaten — humans and their ugly world are distinctly absent.

Instead, the film provides a greatest-hits reel of adorable animals — from baby snow monkeys hanging out in hot springs to dolphins "fishing" by making kooky circles. Creatures that do astonishing things get screen time, such as a lizard that walks on water, or monkeys who have mastered the use of a rock as a tool. 

The film, narrated by Daniel Craig, should please fans of exquisite nature photography, and is something to take the kids to besides a cartoon. Fear not: The few scenes of predatory behavior are tastefully depicted. The ostrich-versus-cheetahs chase is simply too beautifully thrilling to cause much alarm, and when the water buffalo is attacked by the Komodo dragon, the subsequent death has all the discretion of a Victorian novel.

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