5/10 The story of a man who thinks he is a wolf and is sent to a mental health facility with other patients who suffer from species dysmorphia, “Wolf” has some interesting ideas but ends up without much new to say and doesn’t know how to end its story. I was curious to see how the themes would be portrayed as people with species dysmorphia are essentially not all that different from people with gender dysmorphia. While you are free to identify as whatever you want, it doesn’t make it so. A man who thinks he is a wolf is no more a wolf than a man who thinks he is a woman. Yet the movie completely avoids any comparison to transgender issues, despite the similarities. The acting was strong with George MacKay as Jacob (Wolf) and Paddy Considine as “The Zookeeper”, who is the abusive team member of the mental health facility. Lily-Rose Depp was also solid but the two male roles stood out to me the most. MacKay in particular got into great shape and his physical embodiment of a wolf from his crawling around to his howl were very well done. The idea was solid, the acting fantastic and the pacing strong, but the abusive man in charge of the facility has been done to death in dozens of movies involving any kinds of people or prisoners stuck in prisons, hospitals, mental health facilities, etc. I felt like writer/director Nathalie Biancheri didn’t know how to end the movie so it ends extremely abruptly and I would have liked to have seen what happened next. The final problem in addition to the ending was the movie’s tone. This could have been a serious take on mental health issues but moments of humor disrupt that tone. Then vice versa is the same where this could have been a darkly comic look at a serious subject matter but the movie is too serious for that. The entire time I watched the movie I couldn’t help but think, “Man, I would have loved to see the Yorgos Lanthimos version of this movie.” In the hands of a film maker like Lanthimos, we could have had something really special and similar in tone to something like “The Lobster”. Instead we get an odd mix of mostly overly serious with dashes of humor which conflicted. In the end, I admire the effort from all involved but the tonal issues and abrupt ending make this a mediocre movie when it is all said and done.

#TheBoyWhoCriedWolf / #WeThoughtAZoo / #TheCryOfTheHowl / #ForDucksSake / #MyTrueCrawling / #AnimalInstincts

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