Before I left to go home from work, I pulled up the showtimes for the theaters on my way home since I felt like catching a movie. On the list I saw a film called “Duma” that I hadn’t heard of, so I did a little quick research. As soon as I saw that it was directed by Carroll Ballard, I was immediately interested. I did a quick jump over to MetaCritic and saw that it had a high score, and I also noticed that Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 stars. I had already pretty much decided to see it when I saw Ballard’s name as director, anyway. I was shocked that I hadn’t even heard of the film up to that point, but after figuring out that it was in VERY limited release (with Chicago as a test market – and only playing at the 2 local AMC megaplexes in the area), I understood why I had yet to hear of it. So, I caught the movie on my way home. And, I loved it. It’s an outstanding, family-friendly, adventure film. As always, Ballard can be counted on to deliver an excellent movie. He has a talent for making films that are astoundingly tough to make look easy. This film hits all the marks it needs to. It gets some of the needed plot points out of the way as simply as possible so the movie can concentrate on what it’s really about – the characters. One of the key main characters is a cheetah, who is a character just as important as the main human cast. Along the way, we are treated to a lush, beautiful production with some extraordinary visual sequences captured on film. I have great respect for the crew on this film, because every shot in it looks fantastic, from the simple character scenes to the dramatic landscapes to the first-rate action sequences. Ballard is no stranger to filming in exotic locals or with animals – which are things that would drive many directors to the funny farm, but Ballard seems to thive on such productions. Be it filming in the artic wilderness for the excellent Never Cry Wolf with, you guessed it, wolves, or dramatically capturing the water-based action in the criminally underappreciated movie Wind, Ballard always makes the incredibly difficult sequences look easy. From acting to story to production, I completely enjoyed this movie. It’s a gem of a movie. If you are lucky enough to live near a theater showing the film, take the entire family out to see this one. Take them right now before it’s too late.