Thursday, December 2, 2021

Wolf Review: A Strange, Surreal, and Uniquely Wild Experience

Release Date: December 3, 2021
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Writer/Director: Nathalie Biancheri 
Producers: Jessie Fisk, Jane Doolan 
Cast: George MacKay, Lily-Rose Depp, Paddy Considine, Eileen Walsh, Fionn O'Shea

WOLF is a surreal and mysterious tale of self-discovery. Jacob (George MacKay) is convinced that he is a wolf trapped inside a human body and lives his days as he believes a wolf would. When he’s sent to a “curative” clinic for treatment, Jacob is determined to escape his confines -until he meets the beguiling Wildcat (LilyRose Depp). As their relationship deepens, Jacob quickly realizes that he must choose between being himself and staying with the only person who’s ever understood him. 

Wolf is not going to be for everyone, but it has so much going for it for those that are interested.  The acting and transformations of the actors into their animal form is very impressive, even if it can look silly at times.  Especially George MacKay’s change into the wolf.  When he is in his wolf form he looks very different: changing his movement, his mannerisms, and contorting his body to achieve a wolf setup.  You can tell he is fully invested and it shows.  Lily-Rose Depp as wildcat is also good, but not as transformational as George MacKay is.  The other animals are different levels of successful but together they form this wonderful animal menagerie.   And the wild nature of these kids and their animal forms are further enhanced by the sterile setting of the film.  It is a perfect foil to what is going on inside these kids, and it also is thoughtfully done with a wilderness environment just outside the doors of this hospital.  But inside it had this manufactured, clean look.  Everything in the hospital looked sterile and cleansed, down to the fake forest inside.  But just outside you can always see this amazing nature surrounding it. 

And Wolf also has some good music that underlies some of the animal transformations.  It's an interesting otherworldly music that evokes a sense of wonder and calm, with a little bit of wild.  And some scenes will have this overpowering music that evokes a sense of dread when something unsettling is going to happen.  And later there is this amazing, terrible 80s happy song that makes one of the most chaotic scenes perfect.  But it’s also the sound of the animals, of the wilderness, of everything that contributes to this wild feeling within this sterile world.  

And for better or worse, Wolf is weird.  I loved the strangeness and the overall idea, but this is not going to be for everyone.  The slow build up was a wonderful experience, but if you're not into the general concept or at least a little bit of strangeness, you're going to be in for a long night.  If you’re not feeling this early on, it won't get better for you.  I loved this but this is just a strange movie.  

Wolf is a wholly uniquely experience with distinctive characters, amazing transformations, and a slow building story that compares modern life with the wild of nature.

Watch it.

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Wolf is in theaters on December 3, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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