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Dutch crime drama. In a suburb of Utrecht, promising young kick-boxer Majid (Marwan Kenzari) is gaining increasing amounts of attention for his endeavours in and out of the ring. Despite his troubled upbringing, Majid tries to turn his life around through a programme that enables him to pursue kick-boxing as a serious career and obtain a manager who believes in his promise. As he becomes more involved in the criminal underworld through his chosen profession, old habits resurface and Majid soon begins to lose the importance of what he set out to achieve.
Top Customer Reviews
The lead actor, Marwen Kenzari is mesmerising throughout, a slave to his aggressive impulses and his under developed emotionalsim, the scenes in the hospital with his beloved terminally ill brother are very moving, and his realisation that there really is no redemption in his ife make for a multi-layered and very watchable performance
Majid, our Rocky style hero is from a poor Maroccan background who has disappointed his father, has brother dying of cancer and another younger one who sees him as a hero. Majid's world is one of violence, crime, drugs and surrounded by so many stereotyped swarthy mates that you might be forgiven for thinking it might all turn into "bear porn" at any moment.
Filmed in a gentle black and white that makes it neither bleak not fascinatingly arty which may well have been the intention the film salutes the many previous black and white masterpieces from the 1940s especially with its noiresque night shots and the obvious nod to Raging Bull.
It is virtually an all male film with a couple of alibi girlfriends thrown into to divert any suspect queer storyline though there is much homobanter. I can only imagine that there is not a great tradition in Dutch cinema for this genre and Jim Taihuttu is making as many points as possible about the lot of ethnic minorities struggling to keep afloat in 21st century Utrecht
The end result is a film that is neither brutal enough nor resonant enough to make me seek out further films of this kind. It will however no doubt have a large audience among fans of pugilism and beyond
It all kicks off with a quite amusing scene as Majid and his accomplice Adil are window-shopping and debating the relative merits of two motorbikes. Finally deciding on one - with a little help from a couple of drunken revellers passing by, they smash the window and take it. That was the first and last time I smiled during this movie. The remaining 120 minutes comprise some fairly brutal violence (albeit more implicit than explicit), some dour family melodrama, some unconvincing love interest and perhaps 3 or 4 minutes of kick-boxing.
The main problem is that, with the exception of Majid's philosophical and terminally ill brother, none of the characters are at all sympathetic, leaving the viewer with no-one to empathise with. Even the younger brother is rapidly losing his innocence through his contact with Majid and mixing with some of his own ne'er-do-well peers. I find it difficult to derive any satisfaction or entertainment value from a movie under these circumstances.
The decision to film in black and white was understandable and adds a certain gravitas to the proceedings. No extras and no appreciable 5.1 surround sound effects.
Overall, Wolf just about held my interest and the ending, which I won't spoil, felt appropriate if slightly telegraphed. No masterpiece though and I doubt if I'll ever bother watching it again.
Obviously, filming in b&w draws immediate comparison to other films... Mean Streets, Raging Bull etc. and no doubt the director half-intended these but I found the starkness of nighttime filming b&w with digital cameras really worked for me in creating a sense of menace in the night time settings and accentuating the light in the few moments of brightness (the eponymous wolf scene being one such moment that looked really beautiful in this format). In fact, the b&w film that I was most reminded of is La Haine and though Wolf is nowhere near as good a film as the three I have named, it does deserve to be praised for where it goes and, mostly, going there without cliche. I was most amused by other reviewers comments of how cliched the gangster language was - but I think they may have missed the point.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Marwan Kenzari is directed by Jim Taihuttu in perhaps the best Dutch movie of the last decade. A gripping, brutal, yet at times stereotypical, tale of a young man with incredible... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rust Cohle
In black and white. What do I have a colour TV for?
Another stupid director who thinks black and white is cool.
A griity story of racism and redemption in Holland. A little bit arthouse but worth the effort.Published 18 months ago by Ben
Filmed in black-and-white and set in the Netherlands, Wolf is clearly going for a trendy, artsy feel. Read morePublished 18 months ago by B. D. Breen
Brutal, but entertaining story, grim, gritty German realist tale of life on the streets. It wont be to everyone's taste. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Yusuf (Smiley) Yearwood
This is a standout title as far as Dutch filmmaking is concerned.
A crime sports drama spanning various ethnicities and political intrigues, I found a lot to like in the... Read more
Wolf is no classic, but it is very much worth watching if you have any interest in the more gritty kind of European cinema. Read morePublished 23 months ago by mr_ska
Filmed in a black-and-white hand-held documentary style, this Dutch film gives a bleak insight into the life of a minor league criminal, who is torn between a promising future as a... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ian Thomas
This was reasonably engaging and I did watch it to the end albeit with a few breaks. Read more