Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is an animal.
WHAT IS WOLF?
Starring George MacKay (1917) and Lily-Rose Depp (Voyagers), Wolf tells the story of Jacob (MacKay); a boy who believes he’s a wolf trapped in a man’s body. His parents send him to a specialized clinic where he is subjected to extreme forms of curative therapies. While there, Jacob meets another patient, Wildcat (Depp). They form a kindred bond that quickly turns to animalistic infatuation. Jacob must then decide who he truly is and who he wants to be.
After watching this film I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. All I know is it makes me feel something. Watching the Zookeeper (Paddy Considine) enforce his horrific methods is very reminiscent of the stories you hear from the LGBTQIA+ community about conversion therapy. The patients are screamed at and forced to do dangerous things in order to prove to doctors they are who they believe themselves to be. Watching the multiple discussions of not having the “right parts” so you can’t possibly be who you feel you truly are, are heartbreaking.
MacKay as Jacob is truly astonishing. He portrays Jacob with zero judgment and is all in, in this performance. Whether he’s having treacherous moments with doctors or walking on all fours, Jacob is heartbreaking, compelling, and relatable. Depp is wonderful as Wildcat. She brings so much heart, intrigue, and depth to a girl with her own secrets and tortured past.
Considine as the Zookeeper is absolutely terrifying. Portraying a villain who feels they are completely in the right while treating patients with torture is hard to watch, but necessary. His commitment to his character lends to storytelling in a way that wouldn’t be anywhere as affected without him.
QUESTIONS AND ISSUES
While I am in no way against nudity in the film, I do need it to have a purpose. In Wolf, while assaulting Jacob, Wildcat removes her robe. Perfectly fine. The camera, lighting, and hand placement are beautifully done to not show Depp’s chest. However, once the assault is finished, we see her the next morning laying on the ground chest out. Then again in a bathtub. Why choose to show it at those points instead of the entire time? That decision felt very out of place and unnecessary. As well as the assault itself. I would prefer an animalistic, consensual sex scene vs what we were given.
IS WOLF WORTH A WATCH?
While I left the theater unsure of how I felt about this film, in the end, I can’t stop thinking or talking about it. Wolf is not an answer to an issue, it’s an offering inviting people to peek into a world they’re unfamiliar with. While also making it relatable to issues in other areas of our lives.