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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
Well he gets involved in gangs, and other nefarious activities, whilst at the same time trying to develop a burgeoning kick boxing career. But as in all these types of films along the way loyalties will be tested and decisions will need to be made that will have consequences - one way or another and not always with pleasant outcomes.
Bit of Spoiler (not a big one) coming up!!
Filmed entirely in black and white this is quite a good film - that is on the face of it. However, and it is a big however there are quite a few `seen it before' moments. All films with boxing have a similar story line, so it is hardly a big reveal when you find out matches can be rigged (shocker). Also it's hard to feel empathy for the main character who is so willing to dish out violence and yet also be loving and caring for his own family - although I would add this is totally believable.
This then is violence, gang stuff, drugs, some sex and lots of bling all done in a gutter way with a monochrome setting. Some have commented that the use of `b and w' does nothing for the film, but I quite like it. Although aficionados of black and white noir will not be over impressed with some of the lighting. It is though a good film and some very fine performances. The lack of originality is the thing that drags down the rating for me.
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.Read more ›
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tense thriller in stark black and white where a mixed martial artist gets drawn into the sleazy and violent Dutch underworld. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jim Kames
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 12 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 on 14 April 2015 by Ben
Filmed in black-and-white and set in the Netherlands, Wolf is clearly going for a trendy, artsy feel. Read morePublished on 11 April 2015 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 on 15 Nov. 2014 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
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 on 11 Nov. 2014 by Ian Thomas
This was reasonably engaging and I did watch it to the end albeit with a few breaks. Read more