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Wolf (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

WOLF (2021)

Starring George MacKay, Lily-Rose Depp, Paddy Considine, Eileen Walsh, Senan Jennings, Fionn O'Shea, Lola Petticrew, Terry Notary, Martin McCann, Darragh Shannon, Karise Yansen, Amy Mackin, Leo Hanna, Elsa Fionuir, Helen Behan, Mary Lou McCarthy, Shelley Atkinson and Colleen Keogh.

Screenplay by Nathalie Biancheri.

Directed by Nathalie Biancheri.

Distributed by Focus Features. 98 minutes. Rated R.

What the fuck? What did I just watch?

It’s probably not a good sign when you walk out of a movie thinking that. I spent the entirety of Wolf sitting in the dark, wondering when they were going to get to the point of the oddball concept, and when the payoff would happen.

It never came.

So, I’m walking out wondering if I just missed something, like there was some deep symbolic or sociological reason for this strange story to be told. I still don’t know, but I can’t imagine what it would be.

Wolf is the story of a hospital where they take in teens who think they are animals and use devious methods and torture to try to convince them they are human. There is a kid who thinks he’s a dog, a kid who thinks he’s a squirrel, a kid who thinks she’s a horse, a kid who thinks she’s a parrot, a kid who thinks he’s a chicken.

And our hero thinks he’s a wolf. He’s not a werewolf, mind you. He’s just a guy who literally thinks he’s a wolf, who crawls around on all fours and growls at people. Except when he doesn’t. You see, he can talk like a human too, and walk upright, except when… well when he doesn’t.

He falls in love with a girl who may be another wolf, or may be a wildcat, or may be some other animal, or may just be a lonely girl with a crush on him who is willing to participate in some really odd courtship.

Now, not to sound ignorant or anything, but is that a thing? Are there enough young people who identify as an animal that they would have a huge compound where they try to forcibly deprogram these kids? Seriously, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of it, but maybe, who knows?

More to the point, even if it really does happen, why would they make a movie about it? Why would serious actors like Paddy Considine sign on to be in it? Are we supposed to sympathize with these kids, who granted are horribly mistreated in this “clinic,” but still I’m not sure they would be better off out in the “outside” world?

Making it even weirder, as one of the few other people at the movie screening I went to pointed out; the film seemed to be playing its strange situation for laughs at first, but quickly you realize that this film is taking its peculiar concept extremely seriously. It almost seems like the filmmakers think they are trying to make a significant sociological point with the film. And like I said before, giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are.

I just wish I knew what the hell it was.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: December 2, 2021.

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