Dr. Jamie Dodd (Joseph Fiennes – Running With Scissors, Shakespeare in Love) is searching through the jungles of Africa for pygmies. With the help of local hunters and the know how of adventuress Elena Van den Ende (Kristen Scott Thomas – The English Patient, Random Hearts), Dodd manages to capture a young female and male pygmy. He brings them back to Edinburgh in order to study them in the hopes of gaining some insight into the origins of man. Aided by his fellow scientists, Alexander (Iain Glen – Kingdom of Heaven, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) and Fraser (Hugh Bonneville – Iris, Notting Hill), Dodd begins to study these intriguing beings. Dodd begins to believe that the pygmies, Toko (Lomama Boseki – first film) and Likola (Cécile Bayiha – first film), are just as emotional and intelligent as human beings. This goes against the theory that Alexander and Fraser are trying to forward that pygmies were early man or 'missing links'. The two begin to sabotage Dodd's experiments and Toko and Likola end up on display in the Edinburgh Zoo. Realizing that the two pygmies will live out a life of exploitation and abuse if he allows Alexander and Fraser to have their way, Dodd goes to great lengths and pays a high cost trying to gain their freedom.
While you are watching this film you mostly spend your time thinking about how it could have been a good film if it had been done correctly. Director Regis Wargnier (Indochine) spends altogether too much time on insignificant things and not enough time on the interesting facets of the story. As a result there is rarely any 'flow' to the film and it just plods along. On the plus side, the cinematography is excellent. At times it is an exquisite film to look at. It is also an interesting look at how cruel humans can be to fellow humans when it comes to us thinking we can get ahead in life because of it. It is a film whose heart is in the right place, but still falls a little short in the end.