“Wolf is entirely fictional.”
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"A high-concept arthouse drama about a boy who believes he is a wolf."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
Halfway through watching Wolf, I stopped and smiled because it felt like I was experiencing a modern day One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
I spoke too soon.
Despite being based on a real syndrome where people associate themselves with animals, Wolf is entirely fictional. Taking place at a remote institution where people go to seek treatment for their illness, the film follows one young man in particular who believes he’s a wolf. While there, he struggles to recover as he also falls in love with a mysterious young woman who may or may not actually be a patient.
All of the actors, especially leads George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp, do such a fantastic job at losing themselves in their characters - and animals - that there are times where I felt like I was watching real animals on screen. The precision of their posture, their sounds, and all their other idiosyncrasies are not only convincing but they also help paint a better picture of what it’s like to live when you have a distorted view of who (or what) you really are.
One of my favorite things about the film is the small group of patients that cohabitate at the institution. While none of them are entirely fleshed out, they each add some occasional comic relief and, at other times, are made examples of to show the others that this life does have some consequences.
Of all the characters, Paddy Considine’s sadistic Zookeeper steals the show. As his name implies, he runs the institution. His cruel methods often result in the physical and psychological torture of its already tormented patients. In a just world, Considine would be nominated for an Oscar for his palpable performance. The very last shot the audience sees of him is one of the reasons why I can’t stop thinking about the film.
The other reason is because aside from the characters, their comradery, and the fascinating approach the film takes at examining the illness, it all builds up to, well, nothing. The ending is extremely abrupt. Right when it feels like things are starting to get good, the film ends. Even though that can also be said about a lot of great films, there are too many ideas and conflicts and injustices introduced that are simply left unresolved. As a result, we feel just as caged by them as the characters do.