Wildlife in the Lone Star State gets the loving documentary in Deep in the Heart. The new documentary is Texan to its core: Directed by Texas A&M graduate and SXSW award-winner Ben Masters and narrated by Matthew McConaughey. It covers every square inch of the state from the panhandle to the Gulf Coast. What it doesn't do is anything new or innovative with the nature doc.
Each section of the film, which traverses the massive state, follows the same the outline: A wild species used to roam this area, but hunting, wastefulness and climate change decimated the population. The animals have returned, but still need to be protected. It's important to know the history to properly witness the majesty of the creatures running (or swimming) free, but it gets a little repetitive given the film's length. In an ideal scenario, this would be a 45-minute film that would play at science museums and IMAX theaters throughout the state. In its current form, it's a bit much.
But the reason to see the film is its stunning cinematography. Skip Hobbie – a veteran of National Geographic specials – and his camera crew capture stunning shots of snow-covered plains, majestic rock formations and flowing rivers. And of course they get those great shots of predators stalking their prey.
The score by Noah Sorota is one of the best of the year. And of course hearing McConaughey talk about the state's natural beauty – with the occasional shot at Oklahoma – is basically ASMR. But there's nothing here you haven't seen before, at least conceptually. Still, this is essential viewing for any Texan, or any fan of nature documentaries.