This is a film about an event that is too awful to make up. Archaeologists from the Black Hills Institute in Dakota found the remains of the biggest T Rex ever, they made a deal with the farmer on whose land it was, then they got to work cleaning and preserving it.
Then a load of marshals and the army turned up one day and confiscated the beast and all their work, claiming it was all illegal, despite the farmer having taken their money and them having footage of him chatting about what they intended to do with it.
Much investigating later, several of the team faced a huge stretch in the same high security prison that had held the cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. Years passed, and a huge trial, only one of them went to gaol, for not doing his paperwork properly. The farmer got the dinosaur and made millions from it.
Truly horrific, and the so-called amateurs, ie non academics, have had their finances and reputations ruined.
One of them spoke of how it feels to be on a dig – to be beneath starts whose light is millions of years old and to have bones of the same age beneath you.
The head of the BHI was so upset by the bones of Sue – named after the archaeologist who found it – he used to sit outside the building that housed her so she wouldn’t be lonely, telling her that everything would be all right.
I’ve never thought of old bones as being spiritual, but this film made me realise the passion that drives such people – and the horrific injustice that these people endured, when all they wanted was to put the remains on show in their little town to bring in some tourist money to help the locals.
One critic noted that the film was biased in favour of the BHI but how could you be otherwise? They come across as decent, hard working, passionate people, and the heavy handed tactics of authority completely out of proportion.
A brilliant film, but one I wish never had to be made