JUSTIN MATLOCK reviews ZOO (18).

BESTIALITY might not be everyone's idea of a good night at the movies but at least documentary ZOO (18) avoids turning the story of a man who died after having sex with a horse into an exploitative and sensationalised freak show.

If anything film-maker Robinson Devor goes the opposite way, creating a painfully slow musing on this secret world of "zoophiles" - and even at just 76-minutes it feels drawn out.

Inspired by the true story of a businessman who turned up at a Washington hospital with a perforated colon after sex with a horse, the film covers the event from all viewpoints, using testimony from the actual people connected to the case and recreating the important moments - except for the obvious one.

Devor is brave enough to tackling a difficult subject but he doesn't manage to shed much light on what's going on. We get some pretty speeches from the participants and those who had to deal with the aftermath but they say little that's revelatory. After all how profound can it get when one of the actors is given his moment to discuss his views on the issues?

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It does manage to question society's knee-jerk condemnation of anyone who strays from "the norm" but considering the subject matter, you'd expect something more explosive.

Still it's beautiful to look at - the rural landscapes are gorgeous and it is shot using a sumptuous colour palette - but dig beneath the surface and the film has all the depth of a perfume advert. - JUSTIN MATLOCK

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