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Like many things in our post-covid, still-covid!?, cost of living, climate crisis ravaged, war in Europe, post-Trump, post-truth, football in Qatar troubled world, the documentary Wildcat is best summed up with the phrase, it’s complicated.

A study of the devastating impacts of war on the minds and lives of those charged with inflicting it, and on those innocent civilians killed and maimed as a result of it, Wildcat is a moving look at the power of nature to heal and an intriguing portrait of the nuances and insidiousness of relationship abuse.

Wildcat ostensibly tells the story of Sam and Harry living in the Peruvian rainforest and trying to save an ocelot and return him to the wild, and like Marriage Story it is a story of relationship breakdown, a heartbreakingly tough watch. Harry is a troubled former soldier, stricken with debilitating PTSD, Sam a brilliant PHD student and conservationist trying to rescue and preserve wildlife in a habitat harmed by deforestation and hunters.

The other star of the film is undoubtedly Keanu, the ocelot, hand reared and returned to the wild, but the film avoids Hollywood cute, as the story unfolds it is clear that Sam and Harry are the ones truly in need of releasing, as they try to unburden themselves of the chains of their own traumatic past. There is one moment when Harry’s little brother sobs in anguish when Harry returns to England unexpectedly, a poignant insight into the impact of mental illness on the wider family.

Accompanied by a soaring and spectacular song by the Fleet Foxes Willdcat is challenging, life-affirming, difficult, infuriating, sweet and scary, sad and lovely, or put another way, it’s complicated.

4 Stars out of 5 

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