It’s probably Babe that most audiences remember for its lead star being an animal albeit helped along by brilliant puppets and animatronics. Whereas Babe was a piglet, EO is a donkey, a beast of burden and here it has an almost endless load of burden. Set in Poland we first encounter EO as a circus act loved and cared for by his female owner but having to be let go due to animal legislation where dumb animals cannot be relentlessly worked – so goodness knows how the powers that be got James Corden doing a daily late night chat show.
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From here the film follows EO following months where he escapes from a sanctuary before he is captured by a street cleaner as a mascot for his local football team, then caught by a gang that trades in horse meat and drag the sorry their ass around in much the same way that Gemma Collins does. EO is rescued by a wayward young man with an out of control gambling habit funded by his mother (an always impressive Isabelle Huppert). That EO suffers an on screen beating and is only ever a moment away from tragedy makes this at times both moving if not sentimental to but nonetheless is effective in anthropomorphizing the donkey who has a childlike quality. Humble and innocent EO is utterly endearing as he looks on at the mostly lowlife human company he finds himself. In that respect he is our eyes looking on at the ruinous world he loves in. The film is testimony to that theory of editing where an actors blank face was alternated with scenes that might elicit an emotion and yet its left to the audience to read into what they think they see in the actor’s blank face. It’s the same here with EO looking on at what he sees around him and at times it works brilliantly well.
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Director Jerzy Skolimowski film is beautifully shot with some utterly mesmerizing imagery and stunning location shots. Both poignant and pessimistic EO is enough to make the most hard hearted meat eater a vegetarian.
Here’s the EO trailer…….