Xan and his father are out driving when they spot an orphaned baby cheetah in the road. They take it home and nurture it and it soon becomes a part of the family. Xan’s dad is struck down with an unexpected disease and passes away before he and Xan get the chance to release Duma into the wild. His mother sells the farm and moves them to the city, but Duma escapes one day and finds Xan at school. The pair run away, and Xan embarks on a life changing journey.
I hadn’t heard of this film until today, while I was browsing for similar films to Red Dog, an Australian film about a dog that soon becomes famous in its local community. I’m a sucker for a family film, especially those that are about animals, and this one had positive reviews so I thought I’d give it a watch.
Duma turned out to be more than just a cheesy, upbeat film about a kid and his pet. It’s warm and beautifully shot with a depth that will soften even the hardest of hearts. It’s about both the physical and emotional journey that Xan and Duma travel when Xan attempts to fulfil his fathers wishes and take Duma out in the wild to live.
The cinematography is beautiful at times, and is probably the best part of the film. While the story is quite cliche and conventional (which is by no means a bad thing, it’s just nothing outstanding) the locations and the use of photography is stunning.
I’m really sentimental when it comes to animals, so for me this film is ideal for a quiet night in. I was almost blubbing within the first five minutes, but for the most part the adorableness of the animals (particularly a jumpy little bush baby) was almost too much to take and I will admit I squealed a couple of times when the bush baby was on screen!