Unlocking The Cage: A film about man’s quest to achieve legal rights for animals

“Unlocking The Cage” is all about one man’s quest to achieve legal rights for animals

Chimpanzee. Image source: interrete.org

Filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus have come up with a new documentary called “Unlocking The Cage”. These 2 have collaborated on major award-winning films such as “The War Room, about Bill Clinton’s Presidential Campaign. In their new release, they have bought up their acute observational style of filmmaking.

According to npr.org, “Unlocking The Cage” is all about one man’s quest to achieve legal rights for animals. The whole plot is told from the Steven’s point of view (Steven Wise is a leading animal rights lawyer). In this film, he struggles in a New York Court to recognize a chimpanzee named Tommy as a person with limited legal rights. Above all the film is a sympathetic portrait of an advocate.

Poster of the film, "Unlocking the Cage". Image source: unlockingthecagethefilm.com
Poster of the film, “Unlocking the Cage”. Image source: unlockingthecagethefilm.com

Mr. Wise ideology is that “Animals should have the legal status of persons. What this means is not that they should be classified as human, but rather that their rights should be acknowledged and protected under the law.

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In the film, he is portrayed as a rumpled man in his mid-60s who defends in front of skeptical judges and journalists. His clients are the chimpanzees living in New York State in what appear to be miserable conditions. The camera follows Mr. Wise and his colleagues for several years as they build a case that they hope will establish a new precedent.

In the end, Mr. Wise also remarks in the movie that “This is the end of the beginning.” Some of Mr. Wise’s Positions also seems to be questionable. For example: How can a being without human language or human culture have to stand to seek redress from human institutions?

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Hegedus believes that a cultural shift is taking place right now in the world. So he hopes that his film will last. The filmmakers believe that once it is out in the world its fate is out of their hands.

-by Pritam, an intern at Newsgram. Twitter: Pritam_Gogreen



  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Films like these should be appreciated to its best. We really need such kind of movies so that we understand the habits of animals and their rights

  • devika todi

    it should be ensured that such movies receive maximum appreciation and attention.

  • Paras Vashisth

    I really appreciate this because this types of films and documentaries create an impact on people’s minds which is very helpful to understand something.