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Wolf (2021)

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Jacob, a man who believes he is a wolf trapped in a human body, is sent to a clinic by his family where he is forced to undergo increasingly extreme forms of “curative” therapies at the hands of The Zookeeper. Jacob’s only solace is the enigmatic wildcat with whom he roams the hospital in the dead of night. The two form an improbable friendship that develops into infatuation.


“It’s not about surviving, it’s about surviving as me.”

Believing he is a wolf trapped in a human body, Jacob eats, sleeps, and lives like a wolf — much to the shock of his family. When he’s sent to a clinic, Jacob and his animal-bound peers are forced to undergo increasingly extreme forms of ‘curative’ therapies. However once he meets the mysterious Wildcat, and as their friendship blossoms into an undeniable infatuation, Jacob is faced with a challenge: will he renounce his true self for love. Wolf is an interesting movie. Even before it’s release at festivals and theatrical, it was met with mixed reactions. A project like this would never work well with most audiences, but I’m glad they went for it. This is by no means a great movie, but with everything it covers, I think it’s solid for the most part. To get one thing out of the way, it can be uncomfortable to watch. Quickly, it turns the uncomfortableness onto humanity and no these people suffering from species identity disorder. This is a real thing that needs to be taken seriously even if it’s a little absurd. Writer and director Nathalie Biancheri knew how to handle this and make it serious. I do think she thought this was something greater than it is. For every festival it went to, this description was: A high-concept arthouse drama about a boy who believes he is a wolf. A bit pretentious, don’t you think? And this is pretentious. But it makes do by creating something pretty interesting and you can see she cares.

George MacKay absolutely soars in this. This is a transformative role and he embodies his character with precision. His counterpart, Lily-Rose Depp also goes for it. Her character intrigued me the most and I feel we know more about her than anyone else. If the movie needed one thing, it was characterization. There is a lack of it and it’s hard to find reasons to care for them. The antagonist, though played well by Paddy Considine, is just a bad guy because he’s using awful methods to revert them to their normal selves though they want to be like this. I found it hard to connect with anyone. When the themes come in, and they are really strong, I could apply them to the characters but I couldn’t tell you much about them. The script could’ve used some work at parts. And the pacing didn’t flow right. The third act works really well but the first two run on highs and lows. Had it not been for some memorable moments throughout and most of the last act, this would’ve fell completely flat. But this is a memorable movie, mainly because the content. Wolf showcases some great acting, interesting themes, and really good cinematography. It’s a shame not too many people are talking about it. It needs more work, but I found it quite interesting. When I went to see it, I was in a large auditorium on opening night and I was the only one there. Weird experience but I’m glad I had it. This is one of the movies of the year that has mixed-negative reactions that I liked.