There are many of us who are born and raised in Texas. Some of the state’s Texan citizens have traveled and seen the many sites to see, and others most likely haven’t, all too often remaining in the comfort of their communities and region. The nature documentary titled Deep in the Heart, directed by Ben Masters (The River and the Wall, 2019), and narrated by Matthew McConaughey is a visual and auditory delight. It is shot by cinematographer Skip Hobbie and his team on HD with cameras in various locations that provide an insight to a few of the native species of our state in their natural habitats. The visuals from the air, underwater, and among the brush are stunning, both in the beauty of it all to the heartbreaking reality of Texas history of not protecting its wildlife in the past, to the point of extinction. It may not be the history some individuals in the state prefer to be highlighted, but the black and white photos are incorporated into the film educating the viewer about what transpired. Through the excellent narration by McConaughey, the audience learns of various conservation efforts for the bison and the black bear, among others. Shame on Texas for the treatment of the Mountain Lion population!
Deep in the Heart opens with a shot of Guadalupe Peak in West Texas, known as the highest natural point in Texas. The journey through our great state’s diverse landscapes and ecosystems features species in the mountains, canyons and deserts, through rivers and down to the waters of the Gulf Coast. Many of us have enjoyed great times in the water ways of Texas and want to continue to do so. There is a shot of a dry riverbed during a drought that everyone should see to realize how quickly it can be gone. There are environmental concerns about draining our aquifers and the threat it brings to populations.
Although I am born and raised in South Texas, I did not grow up learning about the ocelot living in such a large section of Texas closer to the Gulf of Mexico. I was informed in the recent few years about the ocelot by a friend who is familiar with those counties and the reduced population of them. There is amazing footage obtained from hidden cameras in the brush near an ocelot’s den and the mama ocelot playfully engaged with her two kittens. The beauty of this scene turns when one ocelot kitten can’t be found. There is a statement made by McConaughey as the mama seeks her offspring. The sound of his voice, the timing and the emotion is powerful, so much so it may be need for a tissue for some folks. This footage of the endangered ocelot in its home base is a must see.
We know animals preying on one another is a fact of life. There is a great shot of thousands of bats flying, including the newest family members learning to navigate among them. I was rooting for the baby bats, especially those that were separated. When a pair of king snakes come on screen, it is cause for concern.
The film is thought provoking and hopefully will inspire viewers in different ways. There is more to be done regarding water preservation. Texas can do more for the Mountain Lion. For those willing to act, there are several resources available to research as noted in the film. God bless Texas and Matthew. I can’t imagine this film being narrated by anyone else.
Deep in the Heart is rated PG opens in theaters June 3. Source: Fin and Fur Films