“Wildcat” takes us on a healing journey

Photo courtesy Amazon Studios

“Wildcat” is a poignant documentary that takes us on the journey toward healing of two lost creatures: a young British war veteran and an orphaned baby Ocelot. After being injured in Afghanistan, Harry Turner is suffering from PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts that alienate him from his loving family and everyone around him.

Harry finds a new purpose for his life at a wildlife rescue/rehabilitation center in a remote Peruvian area of the Amazon Rainforest. Samantha Zwicker, the idealistic young doctoral candidate who runs the center, puts Harry in charge of a month old baby Ocelot they name Keanu. Their hope is to release Keanu back into the jungle when he’s 17 months old, an age where he should be mature enough to survive.

Wildcat’s Most Memorable Scenes

The most memorable scenes in “Wildcat,” directed by Melissa Lesh and Trevor Beck Frost, are those showing the bonding between Harry and Keanu, who grows up thinking of Harry as his mom. While Samantha is also an integral part of Keanu’s first few months, she knows to withdraw after he reaches adolescence. We learn that it’s crucial for a carnivore that’s being released back into the wild not to trust humans, so Harry (his surrogate mom) is the only one Keanu will trust.

The documentary runs 1 hour 45 minutes, and seems to lose focus (or our interest) when it starts examining the intimacy developing between Harry and Samantha. And when it starts looking into their family backgrounds. The cameras follow Samantha back to the states and discussions with other scientists back in Seattle, and also document an extended visit by Harry’s family to the rainforest.

It’s a relief to see how far Harry has come in his own healing journey, but this viewer was ready to spend more time with him and Keanu. Or just watching Keanu, as he learns what he is supposed to be-a wild creature and a carnivore, is fascinating.

The scenes of the rainforest and wildlife are gorgeous, and the healing journey of Harry and Keanu is beautifully documented. A documentary you’ll remember for a long time, “Wildcat” is playing in a few select theaters now. It will stream globally on Amazon Prime Video starting Dec. 30.

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.