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Wolf [DVD]

3.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Chemseddine Amar, Mark Catuogno, Steef Cuijpers, Slimane Dazi, Nasrdin Dchar
  • Directors: Jim Taihuttu
  • Producers: Julius Ponten
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Nov. 2014
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00JXNCRF6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,388 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An oddly old-fashioned film, not retro but old fashioned like something from the 1980s and with a narrative trajectory from 50 years even earlier; those rags to riches style musicals where the understudy saves the day and becomes a super star ~ "you are going out there an ex con but you will be coming back a money-spinning fighting hero"
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
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An intriguing aside from the main action reveals the reason for this film's enigmatic title, when the protagonist Majid acknowledges the presence of a fellow predator. Sadly, much of the remainder of this movie falls well short of that near-sublime moment, as it depicts the transition from petty crime to major crime of a second-generation Moroccan immigrant living in The Netherlands.

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.
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wolf is no classic, but it is very much worth watching if you have any interest in the more gritty kind of European cinema. It was filmed in black and white, and given the content there will inevitably be comparisons with genuine classics such as La Haine. Unfortunately Wolf is nowhere near as good as La Haine. It certainly lacks the visual inventiveness and overall style and class, but it does have its own appeals.

Where Wolf does score is in terms of showing how those who live at the margins of European societies live lives that are anything but simply morally black and white. The main character Majid is 'a rat' and he knows it. He's not proud of himself and the life he lives. He's not a completely unsympathetic character though. He's not simply evil. Yet he's set on a path of violence and destruction of others, and of self destruction. The film charts his sinking ever lower, yet still trying to do something 'good' for his family. Still trying to win the love of his father. Still trying to stop his younger brother from becoming a rat like himself and his friends.

The film also tackles the multiple kinds of racism in Dutch society. Majid and his friends are racist towards black people, and racist towards Turkish people. In return they experience racism themselves. No solutions are offered. Only a grim depiction in black and white of things that are not simply black and white for everyone involved.

So the film is well worth watching. It can make you think, but it is certainly not an enjoyable experience to watch it. Which in itself is one of the achievements of the filmmakers. There's no glorification of the criminal lifestyle. No attempt to make Majid appear better or more worthy than he is.
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