Cinema Review: Wolf

Posted March 17, 2022 in Cinema Reviews

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Director: Nathalie Biancheri

Talent: George MacKay, Lily-Rose Depp, Paddy Considine

Released: March 18

Jacob’s parents are a little bit worried now that he’s all grown up and still thinks he’s a wolf. They pack him off to a clinic that specializes in treating otherkin – people with species dysmorphia – and hope for the best. While there, the group undergoes therapy and training, and Jacob (MacKay) becomes infatuated with a girl who thinks she’s a wildcat (Depp).

The trailer gave us a glimmer of hope that Wolf could develop on this intriguing premise and take it somewhere unexpected, somewhere shocking perhaps like a Yorgos Lanthimos film, but it feels like a missed chance in retrospect.

There are issues with the script from the beginning. There’s no real depth to the leads and everything’s so flat and unemotional. Paddy Considine’s heavy-handed character – the Zookeeper – comes closest to the push and shove the film needs, veering it ever closer to the horror and violence this film could become, but never does. The possibilities were endless until they were shepherded into a fairly standard narrative we’ve seen many times before.

McKay and Depp are fine, they dance around each other early on, the latter really giving it his all but at times he sounds nothing like a wolf. For the most part it’s still quite an effective film, certainly watchable, as it sets a creepy tone early on that wrangles it away from being laughable and silly. Until the giggle-inducing final furlong.

In the hands of another director, a Jonathan Glazer or a Julia Ducournau, this script would have been far grittier and pushed the boundaries much more bringing with it the necessary high stakes tension. But what started as a complex and intriguing premise never really takes off or goes anywhere in particular and falls into a shallow love story.

Words: Shane O’Reilly


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