by Ian Pugh Constructed as a series of dream-like, blue-tinted re-enactments anonymously narrated (and sometimes acted out in silhouette) by the people involved, Zoo--so named for an apparently in-crowd nickname for "zoophile"--documents a small group of individuals gathered together on a ranch in Washington, one of the few states in the union where bestiality is "not illegal," to hang out and share their love for animals; their illusions of solitude are shattered, however, when one of them dies from a perforated colon after having sex with a horse. The zoophiles are portrayed here as fairly "normal," unassuming people, but once the eventual media firestorm falls upon them, contemporary news reports and radio talk shows aren't dismissed wholesale as sensationalist garbage. (For the most part, they're a rationally curious intrusion into a sub-culture only whispered about.) Zoo isn't necessarily sympathetic to its subjects, after all: the zoophiles' sexual interests are hinted to be a by-product of their fear of personal and emotional criticism (rather than vice versa); they find the bond with animals to be the purest relationships available due to their "partners"' inability to see anything but "a good person or a bad person." One interviewee remarks that a horse doesn't care whether a filly or a human is underneath it, forcing us to wonder where this interpretation will draw the line between non-judgmental and simply indiscriminate. Zoo seems to be stalling for time as it interviews "Cop #1" from the re-enactments, yet his story about seeing a dead child reveals itself to be a bold detour from the subject at hand to illustrate the fragility of human beings. For as much as you can laugh at a man for being killed by horse sex, the truth of the matter is that he died in one of the slowest, most painful ways imaginable--doesn't that warrant at least an attempt to figure him out? The film ends with a local animal-rights activist involved in the case contemplating her own non-sexual bond with horses and summarizing her thoughts on zoophilia as a concept: "I'm right at the edge of being able to understand it." And that's what Zoo is really about, a refusal to subscribe to its subjects' black-and-white mindset--the idea that we can come so close to comprehending it while still finding it unforgivably abhorrent.