EO (2022)

Cover art for the 2022 movie EO, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
Cover art for the 2022 movie EO, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.
About the movie
  • Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
  • Starring: Hola, Tako, Marietta, Ettore, Rocco, Mela
  • Yes or no?: Yes
  • Links: on Letterboxd, IMDb page
Other reviews:

Gut wrenching.

I had some idea how this would go, but not nearly to the extent that it is so sad. The opening scene immediately put me on edge. EO was dead, or really hurt, being loved by a companion, tears in her eyes, only to have EO pop up alive to applause from the audience they were performing in front of. I had a sick feeling from the dead donkey that never went away.

Throughout, you see EO come upon opportunities to live a happier life, only to have them interrupted by something vile, or sad, or just there. When Kasandra showed up at the farm where EO had been taken in, by people who wanted them there, even if it was for work, and EO set out to find her, I was devastated. EO had a thing. I know it wasn’t the thing they wanted, and that’s where my relationship with animals had a reckoning. I wish EO had stayed because in my mind, EO is just a donkey whose life can be made simpler and happier. But EO had different designs, and went for it. EO was to make their dreams come true.

Sadness follows. EO becomes what I already had pictured—just a donkey. They are lost after leaving the farm, see animals being hunted in unsporting ways, becomes the object of joy, briefly, for a local soccer club, but is beaten nearly to death for it by a band of rival hooligans, and commits murder(!), albeit justifiably. The journey shows us some incredibly beautiful things, and the shot composition amplifies the scenery. The shot over the bridge near the dam was striking.

The way Jerzy Skolimowski shows us what EO is seeing, and how EO fits with our own views of animals, is interesting. The camera work is such that when we’re seeing through EO’s eyes, the effect is a bit of a shimmer on the edges of the shot. It’s the journeys and transitions that got me. Some great drone work through creek runs, fast passing of time to show a voyage. Then there’s the robot dog, signifying to me the obsolescence of an EO. We’re at a point where what we consider fun pets are being replaced by robots, and the loss to the richness of our lives will be lost if that’s ever fully realized.

EO is a sad movie that has some really joyous moments. Skolimowski’s framing of animal rights, and everything that comes with the struggle, through a wonderful, emotive, and capable donkey really worked for me. Donkeys are cute animals that we generally think are really stupid. Maybe they are. But I can empathize with an animal going through some of the worst changes in life and trucking along, all the way to the end.

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December 27, 2023
Tags: donkey | eo | jerzy skolimowski
Categories: Reviews