Dinosaur 13 ***Dir: Todd Douglas Miller. With: Peter Larson, Neal Larson, Susan Hendrickson. 95 mins. Cert: PG
Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary suggests a joke: heard the one about the palaeontologists who dug themselves into a hole? In fact, around the time of Jurassic Park, a team of South Dakotan fossil hunters really did find themselves in deep trouble after unearthing the remains of the largest intact T-Rex on privately owned land. The dinosaur (swiftly named Sue) fell victim to more recent, disputed history; the diggers to heavy-handed Government intervention. It’s a jawbone-dropping tale, told crisply through talking heads, in which the process of excavation proves at least as fascinating as the fallout. If it all feels too anomalous to seal its case against today’s big legal and corporate predators, it never lacks for diverting turns and quirks: there’s something dorkily poignant in the way everyone – including Miller, forlornly numbering Sue’s days in federal custody – insists on treating this fallen giant like any other mistreated tug-of-love child.
Dinosaur 13 opens in selected cinemas from today.