Poacher

Poacher

The hunt for poachers is on in this well-made and important Malayalam crime thriller

7.5

TV Show

Canada, India
English, Hindi, Malayalam
Crime, Drama
2024
RICHIE MEHTA
Ankith Madhav, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Kani Kusruti

TLDR

Animal lovers, prepare to get your hearts crushed.

What it's about

Two decades after India successfully cracked down on elephant poaching, illegal hunters return to Kerala to sell ivory in the black market. It’s up to wildlife preserver Mala (Nimisha Sajayan) and data analyst Alan (Roshan Mathew) to get to the bottom of the case.

The take

In Poacher, two passionate but low-level wildlife preservers are tasked to bring down a massive crime ring that murders elephants to sell rare ivory. It’s a hefty task, one that’s constantly bogged by red tape and corruption, so it’s not surprising that some scenes go on for too long and wind in repetitive circles. But for the most part, Poacher moves briskly and urgently; it has the familiar beats of a crime drama while never losing its important message about the importance of preserving nature. In lesser hands, the latter could come off as cheesy or preachy, but in Poacher, the message never feels less than life and death. It begins with the animals, as one of the investigators explains, and if the criminals are not caught soon, things will likely freefall into uncontrollable crime and corruption, not to mention a damaged ecosystem that could ruin one of India’s few green spaces forever. It’s a thought-provoking message, one that’s helped by the show’s high production value, heartwarming focus on wildlife creatures, and dedicated performances.

What stands out

Not to give Amazon Prime too much props, but it is kind of amazing how, every time I paused, a brand new trivia about India’s rich wildlife and the case the series is based on appears onscreen. There is much to learn about both, and it’s great that a streamer is interested in supplementing our viewing in this way.

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