Movie Review: The Ivory Game needlessly crafts a thriller out of an advocacy doc

Unlike a lot of other advocacy docs—films that seek to raise awareness regarding some serious issue, often concluding with a call to action—Netflix’s The Ivory Game offers something spectacularly visual: elephants. Those trunks! Those ears! Those… tusks. A book or lengthy magazine article could perhaps better convey the same basic information, alerting people that African elephants are being illegally slaughtered for their ivory at a pace that will result in their extinction within the next two decades. (An elephant is poached every 15 minutes, on average.) Seeing the majesty of these endangered creatures in action, however, juxtaposed with the horrific sight of their mutilated carcasses, inspires visceral feelings of sorrow and anger that no amount of elegant prose can possibly match. That’s why it’s so frustrating that directors Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson apparently felt that they needed to craft a thriller—complete with pulse-pounding …

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