Zoo Image


By Alan Ng | February 15, 2021

To me, as much as Will Niava’s short film, Zoo, is about police brutality against black men and women, it’s about more than that.

Amos (Amos Nzamba) is part of a gang of three misfits aimlessly driving through a small Canadian town looking for trouble. Amos opens the film lamenting the situation he finds himself in with Slim (Brendan Sheehan) and Santos (Ian Contreras). In his head, he wonders how he got into this “bullish!t” and tells himself every night that he needs to get out.

On this particular night, the boys stalk fast-food drive-thrus stealing meals as they are being passed from the diner’s window to the customer. The night comes to a screeching halt when they discover they are out of rolling papers for their weed, and Amos makes the mistake of asking for papers from the wrong car.

“…Amos makes the mistake of asking for papers from the wrong car.”

Zoo parallels the tragic nature of our stories in film alongside the tragic nature of real-life for black communities around the world. In Amos’s case, simple acts of stupidity can end in tragedy and then contrast with the hopeless nature of his life’s direction. Amos finds himself caught up in endless cycles that may one day also end in disaster.

Zoo is not only expertly shot and tells a compelling story, but writer/ director Niava absolutely nails the tone right from start to finish. Tone is everything in this story as it places us in the right setting with the right mood, and immediately we are connected with Amos’ plight and path to nowhere.

Zoo (2020)

Directed and Written: Will Niava

Starring: Amos Nzamba, Brendan Sheehan, Ian Contreras, Ian Cloutier, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Zoo Image

"…about police brutality against black men and women..."

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