“There is no yes that doesn’t come with a leash”

Via bribery and promises to preserve the order of things, Will eventually wins Caesar’s freedom. Will is coded in every regard as the good guy, in comparison both to his avaricious corporate boss and the brutal preserve master, played by Brian Cox, with his yellowed veneer of humanity. Will loves Caesar. Surely this is the moment—an hour in, already!—when good joins with good and the malefactors are given what for, in a rousing finale.

This is precisely what does not happen. His cage thrown open, Caesar spots the leash in Will’s hand and, seeming to reach out to him, he instead closes the door, locking himself in. No pretending that even the most enlightened bondage is more tolerable than an iron cage.

read more | Joshua Clover, Rise and Fall | Film Quarterly