Published on January 13th, 2018



 by Cleo E. Brown

The images of dying and dead animals seen in TROPHY are horrendous. Not at all unlike the images of Jews and political prisoners trapped behind the barbed wire of Hitler’s concentration camps during World War II, I was forced to ask myself “What if this was me or a member of my family?” I ask you now how would you feel?

TROPHY, which airs on CNN on Sunday, January 14th, 2018 at 9:00pm Eastern and Pacific Standard Time, was acquired by CNN Worldwide Executive vice president for talent and content development , named Amy Entelis, from The Sundance Film Festival in 2016. The documentary, which was directed by Shoulder Schwartz with Christina Clusiau, will encore on Saturday, January 20th, 2018 at 9:00pm and Sunday, January 21st at 2:00am Eastern Time. TROPHY will also stream live for subscribers via CNNgo and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android. TROPHY will be available on Monday, January 15th, 2018 on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms, and CNN mobile apps. The film, which will air with limited commercial interruptions, is one hour and forty-eight minutes long.

Be it Sheep, Crocodiles, Rhinos, Elephants, Tigers, Lions, Bears, Buffalo or Giraffes the cruelty inherent in human beings who victimize these animals, for no matter what the reason, is clearly displayed in TROPHY. According to the film there are three classes of animal trappers to consider: Hunters be it for sport or for economic gain, Poachers, and Farmers/ Breeders. Farmers/Breeders seem to be the most humane of the bunch but, are they really, when they trap, enslave and take the animal out of their natural habitat.

Although some farmers breed the animals for slaughter and for human consumption, others are trying to preserve the species whose numbers have been steadily and rapidly declining since 1900. In fact, 60% of all species of wild life have vanished since 1970.

In the case of one Poacher/Farmer who captures Rhinos to steal their horns yet also breeds them to preserve the species, he reasons that he is saving the animal from extinction. Taking place predominantly in South Africa on a Safari where Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Leopards and Buffalo are hunted, the action in the film occasionally shifts to Texas in the United States where a group of hunters on Safari are from.

This documentary also examines the emotional toll as well as the exhilarating high which killing these animals takes and elicits from the people who hunt them. Seemingly low-key and off-beat, the film at first subtly and then more forcefully causes human beings to examine rules and laws about nature and the preservation of the ecological balance which we have taken for granted for over a century. Although TROPHY causes the viewer to question the rights and the humanity of Hunters, Poachers and Farmers/Breeders as well as the rights of the animals, the film offers no real solutions to end the abuse of the fearsome and fearless animals captured in their natural environments.

Viewing this documentary, however, will cause most to examine their values concerning this disturbing topic. On a scale of from one thru ten I rate TROPHY an 8.5.

About the Author: Cleo Brown is the film reviewer for She lives in Manhattan and has a master’s degree in contemporary African-American History from The University of California at Davis and has done work on a Ph.D. in education at The University of San Francisco. She has published several poetry books and is featured in Who’s Who in Poetry.

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