Oskar Schindler got his movie in 1993 with "Schindler's List" and won a Best Picture Oscar. Leopold Socha got his film - "In Darkness" in 2011 and was nominated for Best Foreign Language film in 2012. Now Jan and Antonina Zabinski get there film depicting heroic deeds during the Holocaust. It won't win anything.


The stories that come out of the Holocaust will always be very touching as we learn the often horrific conditions and acts that occurred. Putting the stories on film is supposed to give a sense of what it was like to be a Jew in Hitler's German Empire.


The first story was of course, "The Diary of Ann Frank" which was so moving in 1959, it earned Shelly Winters her first acting Oscar and provided Millie Perkins a lifetime reference to gain other acting jobs. The story took you right into the Frank household to the bitter end.

Director Niki Caro gained moderate fame when she directed Keisha Castle-Hughes to an Oscar nomination in the 2002 film "Whale Rider". She then turned around and directed Charlize theron and Frances McDormand to Oscar nominations in "North Country" (2005). Both where films that would have otherwise passed under everyone's radar.


Given a subject that not many people are familiar seemed to be right up her alley. The story of how Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) and Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain) used their closed zoo as a hide-out for Warsaw Jews during German occupation of Poland, is right up the directors alley.


The story tells how famed zoologist Jan Zebinski and his wife operated the successful zoo prior to the German invasion. The film depicts Antonina as a natural animal lover who allows her son Ryszard (Tim Radford) to sleep with the baby critters in his bed.

But then comes the German aerial bombing of Warsaw and a few direct hits to the zoo; chaos breaks loose with the animals wandering around in a daze, loose from their confines. Some are killed, but others would have a similar fate when the ground forces came to town lead by the Zabinski's friend Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), a German biologist who now holds a high ranking in Hitler's army.


He offers to take some of the best breeds to Berlin for safe keeping until after the war. Unfortunately for the other animals, he orders them to be killed as there were no means to care for them. That baby camel you grew fond of at the beginning of the film is kaput.


With empty cages, that's when the Zabinski's decided to try hiding the Jews in there zoo with very little German interference save for Lutz's constant flirtations with Antonina. Jan witnesses German soldiers raping a teenage girl and gives her refuge.


But we don't even know who the girl is. Or if her parents are still alive. Not enough details - whether true or contrived - are given about the Jews. Caro essentially removes their personality and creates a zoo of generic people that are being protected by two altruistic Christians.


The cinematography is great, the animals are wonderful, but without a true connection to the human victims you leave without an emotional tie to the people. The elephant maybe, but not the humans...and this is where the film fails.


"The Zookeeper's Wife" is an interesting story, awkwardly told by Niki Caro who generates more sympathy for the displaced zoo animals than she does for the displaced Jews.   -- GEOFF BURTON