An odd premise gives way to intriguing, strong performances and an overall well execution in a film that could have fallen deep into the trenches of ridiculousness, Wolf manages to carry its heart from beginning to end.
When Jacob (George Mackay), who believes he is a wolf, is sent to a clinic to deal with his species dysmorphia condition, he meets a woman (Lily-Rose Depp) who challenges him to consider whether he will give into love and give up his true self. Wolf is one of those movies that will have you asking “what is going on?” at least every five minutes. The premise is completely bonkers when taken at face value and the peers which Jacob finds himself surrounded with all are mimicking the lifestyles of a variety of animals. Deep beneath the shocking visuals, however, writer/director Nathalie Biancheri has crafted an intelligent, heartwarming allegorical tale that showcases both MacKay and Depp in ways we haven’t seen before. Their developing friendship and budding romance serves as an additional catalyst for the trouble and pain inflicted by the setting, the extreme therapies utilized, and the uncertain future ahead of them.
Raising issues of identity, individualism, and acceptance while tackling the controversial and devastating realities of conversion therapy, Wolf takes an unconventional route to discuss otherwise conventional themes. It is a film that sticks with you thanks to MacKay’s ability to make viewers empathetic when they likely will start off perturbed. This isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but those who enjoy pondering what is presented long after the credits role will find much to think about, even if a specific message isn’t completely clear by the end. Wolf is impressive for what it is and a nice diversion from the big budget chaos of awards season.
Wolf hits select theaters this Friday.