The Wolfman Review

wolfman review movie film

Brief Summary

A travelling Shakespearean actor Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) is called to his ancestral home in Blackmoor following the death of his brother. The mysterious circumstances and his brother’s attractive once wife-to-be (Gwen Conliffe) lead him to stay and investigate further. Rumours abound but it quickly becomes clear that something (and not someone) is responsible for the gruesome attacks in the sleepy English countryside.

Wolf Like You

When the moon is round and full
Gonna teach you tricks that’ll blow your mongrel mind

Both TV on the Radio’s ‘Wolf Like Me’ and The Wolfman deal with lycanthropy, which, in case you didn’t know, is the transfomation of a human being into a wolf-like creature. The song was an instant classic, the film however less so. Typically a genre packed with suspense and mystery, ‘The Wolfman’ is more chaotic than occult and more bloody than spooky. On paper this movie looks like a sure bet. Del Toro in the lead, Anthony Hopkins (as Lord Talbot) and Hugo Weaving (Inspector Abberline) in a movie about werewolves? It sounds like a movie worth twice the price of admission. Maybe I got a little too excited (I did), but regardless of expectations this film fails to impress.

Killer Instincts

It’s an annoying trend in film that super powers are often easily attained and just as easily mastered. Even Spiderman bumped into a few walls and had some trouble getting the webs going, but in this case, becoming a Werewolf means being imbued not only with a bloodlust of genocidal proportions but killer instincts to match: barely has the new wolf on the block cut his teeth and he’s hewing down anonymous henchmen faster than Connery in his heyday. No learning curve, no training day, nothing – just severed body parts and internal organs. Everywhere. That would be alright if you felt something, but the film also fails to build an emotional attachment between the audience and the characters, so when they start dropping like flies you don’t feel much for the killers or the departed.

Boys will be boys

There have been a number of other films with similar or worse gore, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ comes to mind, which amidst the bone cracks and and bullet wounds still manage to build an interesting story. In other words, there is a reason for the mayhem. However at the end of this film, shortly before the skins and shirts battle royale, the reason for the blood and carnage amounts to little more than an old case of boys will be boys, that and a few references to the Prodigal Son (which don’t really make sense) leave one wondering, ‘Well what was the point of all that?’ Not that every movie needs a message, moral or even a point, but if your film doesn’t have one, don’t try to hide it.

Foggy London Town

The special effects in this movie aren’t bad and if you’re into blood and gore, be my guest. I’ll watch anything with Hopkins in it, and Weaving is also a very talented actor, regardless of the roll – a scene where his character orders a pint of bitter might have saved this film (but doesn’t). The filmmakers also do a good job of recreating the Victorian era, so if you’re into those things, you might enjoy this film. Otherwise you’ll find yourself wanting to like this film, but not actually liking it, which is a shame. The material and the casting are spot on, however the directors fail to create any suspense, twists, turns or chills which seems like a missed opportunity, since all the other pieces were in place.

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