CATS. Who doesn’t love cats? Especially Wildcats. Just ask likely over half of the schools in the USA thinking of terrible mascots for their school. I don’t know why so many boring animals have been picked to be school mascots, but so many of them are panthers, cougars, lions, or even the more generic, Wildcat, that I just have to wonder if the Big Cat industry has its claws in the public school mascot naming industry.
For the documentary Wildcat, however, it is about an actual large cat from the wild. Namely, an ocelot (well, two of them). But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Apparently there are no real good programs out there that can take in injured or baby large cats, raise them, and successfully reintroduce them into the wild. They end up being in reserves for the rest of their life, or zoos. They don’t survive well back in their natural habitats, because they don’t know how to hunt as well, or know the dangers. They don’t have their mamacats!
So this is a story about people trying to overcome that difficulty, raise a big ole cat, and release it back into the wild.
If he gets more tattoos, they can try and match.
This is a film about Harry and Samantha. Harry was a British soldier, and now he is still British, but done soldiering. He joined an animal reserve in Peru, which was being run by Samantha, a PhD student. The forests were a hard place to live and work, so a former soldier was a good person to help out. Well, they eventually find a young ocelot, and as part of the reserve, try to do the thing that I mentioned. Raise it to go back into the wild. But there are issues that happen, poachers and wild creatures to deal with, so it won’t be easy, and they won’t get it right on their first cat. Will it work on their second cat?
Oh also they start a relationship.
So is this just a documentary about raising an ocelot? Nope. It is also, and arguably a lot more about, PTSD! Because harry has got it, and he has got it bad. He has anger issues, depression, and more from war. Not going to lie, Harry is straight up insufferable in this film when he is having what feels like a tantrum. When he feels his lowest lows, and upset about the program not working as expected. When he becomes emotionally manipulative of Samantha, who doesn’t know how to help him. This is interspliced early on with a lot of success and cute cat videos, as one way to describe it. But by the end, it becomes a lot more about Harry and his health, than anything else.
That is the more interesting documentary of course here. I really wouldn’t care about a documentary that is solely about raising an ocelot. It having another tier towards it was a surprise overall, but still not something that felt strong with the inclusion. It was a stronger documentary, yes, but just not one that would prove to be ground breaking. It can certainly be important for those who want to see the signs and the downturn of an individual, and it leaves the documentary with some merit.