It's an unforgiving place. The merciless and powerful rule without pity, and the weak are pounced on and eaten alive -- sometimes for sport and sometimes for the survival of those who outrank them. There is no code here, no justice.
But, enough about the corporate workplace.
This documentary takes place in Africa, an equally unforgiving landscape. And, if you can forgive the filmmakers for anthropomorphizing the family of lions (made up of a fearless, devoted single mother and her three cubs), you'll be enthralled, engaged and have your heart ripped out. Not to give anything away, but you will despise the water buffalo, alligators and hyenas. "This is supposed to be LION turf," I wanted to yell each time one of those interlopers showed up.
The cinematography and haunting music are as awesome as the family of lions this documentary follows. The only nit, and it's a small one, is Jeremy Irons's at times over-the-top narration. Both his voice -- which sounds like Alistair Cooke introducing Masterpiece Theater -- and the script could be a bit much.
Did Jeremy just say that "Silver Eye" (the wild animals have names in this movie, which only makes them seem more like pets that just haven't been housebroken yet) recalled the scent of her former nemesis and was now back for "revenge"? Do animals recall past grievances and later plot revenge against their foes? I don't know; I'm just an unpaid movie critic. It may not be accepted zoological theory, but it sure does make for a powerful story.
While I feel Randall would have provided superior narration, honey badger style, for The Last Lions, I suppose the Oscar-winning Irons lends some gravitas to what could've been dismissed as just another nature movie. And, it's more than that.
It's an urgent tale about a drastically shrinking lion population. Not surprisingly, we learn that those interloping, marauding buffalo and hyenas are nothing compared to the humans mucking everything up for nature. See it.